This is the astonishing true story of a plot to overthrow a Chinese Emperor.
In 1728 a strange man hands a letter to General Yue Zhongqi. The letter is to overturn Yue's privileged life irrevocably, for it calls on him to lead a rebellion against the Manchurian Emperor - when even to receive a document like this is perilous in a country rife with ambition, intrigue and paranoia. The resulting manhunt for the rebel leader brings violence and confusion, in a story that has all the twists and turns of a thriller.
Drawing on the original secret documents between the Emperor and his agents, and on Jonathan Spence's unrivalled knowledge of Chinese history, this is a unique scholarly detective story.