by Sean Russell
. * * * * 1/2
The Supreme Master
of the order of Botahara
is hiding a terrible secret: The original scrolls of Botahara
have been stolen and replaced by copies!
Although the secret is well-kept, this is having mystical consequences throughout the Empire: The old Emperor has been overthrown by a general hostile to the Botaharist movement, Botaharist brothers are being attacked by highwaymen, others are dying of plague!. Rival monastic orders are gaining power in the empire, and the Botaharist Sisters are becoming annoyingly assertive...
In the middle of all this, these appears a young monk with powers of chi
not seen since Botahara himself. Brother Shuyun
is sent to be spiritual adviser to Lord Shonto
, one of the old Emeror's greatest generals. Unfortunately, the new Emperor views Shonto as the greatest threat to his power....
I cannot begin to describe what a delight it is to read this book. Set in a world that is sometimes like ancient Japan
, sometimes like ancient China
, it is an enthralling story. It was nearly unbearable to wait two whole years for the second half of the story, Gatherer of Clouds
, to come out.