- File Size: 699 KB
- Print Length: 366 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0263892379
- Publisher: Harlequin Historical; Original edition (October 1, 2011)
- Publication Date: October 1, 2011
- Sold by: Harlequin Digital Sales Corp.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B005HRPXZI
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #306,463 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Dragon and the Pearl (The Tang Dynasty Book 2) Kindle Edition
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"Especiallyvibrant writing." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review of ButterflySwords
Drawing on a lushly depicted, exotic backdrop, Lin creates an intriguing romance between well-drawn characters whose secrets lure readers deep into the story. Lin has found a marvelous niche to delveinto fascinating cultural elements and sensuality. -- Romantic Times, 4star review
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The Dragon and the Pearl is book two in the Tang Dynasty series and acts as a direct follow up to the events in book one when the main pair were introduced as side characters. In fact, Tao was the villain. So, yes, read book one first.
As I just stated, the hero of this story was the perceived villain. He's a ruthless warlord who controls his territory with brute strength and cunning and people are whispering at court into the new emperor's ears that General Tao is disloyal. Tao is making moves and preparing, but in his mind war with a rival warlord and maybe the emperor himself is inevitable. But, what is the significance of the recently dead emperor's breathtakingly beautiful consort? He thwarts assassination attempts on her life and takes her into his keeping as either a viper to his bosom or the key that could take down his enemy if he can pry her secrets from her.
Suyin has been exploited and used all her life from the pleasure houses catering to the wealth and powerful and into the cut-throat world of the imperial court. She had finally earned her reward living isolated on a lonely estate at peace until something she knows makes her a danger to one man and a weapon to be wielded by another. This time, she will not be used. She will take what she wants. Does she want this ruthless, ungentlemanly warlord who is set on self-destruction because he only knows one way to get what he wants? Perhaps what she has learned about subtle methods at court can serve them both well if he will only trust her when she has never been known to be particularly trustworthy.
I have read nearly everything this author has published. This one and a few short stories were all I had left to read. I knew after reading Butterfly Swords last year that I really wanted this story. Both characters appeared in that story and they were vastly more interesting to me than the main characters- not that the main characters were not enjoyable. I am a sucker for political intrigue and a pair of strong, clever and driven characters who have a little larceny in them.
Though both Tao and Suyin have risen from their original gutter rat status as children to be accepted at the height of power, they don't forget the ruthless survival instincts that have kept them alive until now. Their first encounters are memorable as they both try to hold the power position and twist the other to their advantage. The romance was slow burn and had to advance out of their suspicion and dislike even while other events are also in motion. She is a courtesan and trained in a top pleasure palace so the dynamics are different for their coming together.
The end of the book ratcheted up the suspense and excitement so that I was riveted and barely breathing a few times. I loved how this story built to that moment and didn't disappoint with either the romance or suspense.
The historical setting is not neglected, but it doesn't take over and bog down the story. It felt authentic even down to how the characters spoke and acted. I've read all the novels in this series and each is beautiful and takes the reader to that distant era and place. I will miss that.
So, this Asian historical full of colorful characters, intrigue, and excitement was fabulous. I can heartily recommend this author to historical romance lovers who want to leave the ballroom and explore the historical world.
Of course how many days that might be is open to question. Imperial concubines tend not to have long retirements. If enemies from her court days don't finish her, her secrets will, and now the most feared and unpredictable of the warlords, the old emperor's former "enforcer" himself, is coming for her.
Iron discipline and cold calculation have made that warlord, Li Tao, the success he is today, yet here he is acting upon whim. A deliberately vague anonymous warning has sent him racing far from his regional stronghold to offer his "protection" to what should have been a forgotten castoff, yet he'd intercepted assassins approaching her home, assassins who'd made sure to die before they could be questioned.
Someone wanted her dead, someone else wanted her alive, and now he's been lured into the middle of it.
When Jeannie Lin announced that the hero of the sequel to Butterfly Swords would be the villain of that previous novel, I, no doubt like most readers, was utterly flabbergasted. How could Ms. Lin POSSIBLY redeem this cruel, unrelenting man? Well, it has been an interesting process.
To begin with Li Tao turns out to be a much more complicated man than he first appears, perhaps more complicated than he even knows (or is willing to admit). He claims that "Loyalty means nothing to me" and claims to be "loyal to no one", and with the exception of the dead former emperor, this is largely true when it comes to alleged superiors or peers, but he can be quite loyal to those who follow or depend upon him... so long as they remain strictly loyal to him. He who proudly refuses to proclaim his loyalty to the current emperor will not tolerate disloyalty himself. He despises honor and sentiment as unpredictable at best, utterly false at worst; he openly states that he is not an honorable man; yet the fact that he strictly adheres to his own peculiar code of honor is obvious to everyone but himself. He claims to possess no sense of duty, but duty (as he sees it) clearly matters more to him than almost anything else. Finally, a man who defies everyone will not tolerate defiance.
That such a bundle of contradictions would be troubled by bringing the infamous Precious Consort into his home surprises no one but himself. She was trained from the day her parents sold her in how to manipulate and control men for her benefit... and her very survival. Of course her infuriating captor would be the only man who can see right through the poise of the professional courtesan down to the frightened girl underneath; the irony is that he likes what he sees!
My review title comes from the symptoms of tension Warlord Tao experiences as he attempts to deal with his collapsing position. Utterly lacking in the skills of court intrigue, he finds himself losing influence to and risking annihilation by rivals with far inferior military skills. Suyin offers tantalizing possibilities for the relief of his tension while at the same time materially adding to it with her own scheming for survival. He negotiates one night with her in hopes of getting her out of his system, then a month, but it doesn't seem to be working. Fact is, he could truly have used someone with diplomatic skills like her, if only he'd have been willing to listen to her, if only she could have come up with something. But it's too late now. His past secrets and her past secrets have doomed them both,...
or so it would seem. This reader experienced a growing pain between the eyes himself as he tried to figure out how the author was going to extricate her heroes from the ever growing obstacles to a HEA she piled upon them,... then things really got hopeless. She'd about convinced me there couldn't be one, but she's fooled me before, so the question was, which way was she fooling me now?... Yeesh, time for another aspirin!
IMHO it isn't absolutely necessary to have read the previous parts of this series: The Taming of Mei Lin and Butterfly Swords in order to understand what is going on in this book, but it would probably help, especially the latter. Besides, they are a lot of fun! The somewhat parallel The Lady's Scandalous Night on the other hand should be read afterward.
Note: I received this ARC from NetGalley in return for agreeing to review it.
So, I'm almost two months late, but the book was worth the wait. "The Dragon and the Pearl " is a stand-alone novel by Jeannie Lin, however it does pick up where "Butterfly Swords" left off. "Dragon's" cast includes Li Tao, the antagonist of Butterfly Swords, as the hero of "Dragon," and his backstory gives us a much wider vision of the author's Tang Dynasty China.
Now I loved "Butterfly Swords," but you can see Lin's skill as an author has increased since the first book. She has sunk herself into this world, making the characters rounded, fleshed and highly sexual. More than that, her political and social structure is more solid than the Kunlun mountains. She needed that solidity as we find out how both the court and the seedy underground culture of Tang dynasty functioned.
Thanks to that background structure, we discover why Li Tao is the stern and unyielding man you met before, but we also find the heart beneath that exterior. That said, he never breaks character. His is one of the strongest, most well rounded characterizations I've ever seen. In many ways, Lin's characterizations and dialogue reminded me of works by my favorite author, Guy Gavriel Kay. Those of you who know me will recognize I mean that as the greatest compliment I can give.
If you enjoyed the dainty appetizer of "Butterfly Swords," you will love the full course spread that is "The Dragon and the Pearl."
Top international reviews
Most difficulties sort out themselves, cold hearted courtesan fall in love and cold hearted assassins melt and the heroine and hero survive.
It is a love story with lots of grapic sex passages, like all authors book but while still fairly good read i did groan each time suyin and li tao would litterally feel electricuted each time they brushed each each other and then inevitable description of breathless melting of heroine in heros arms, even though she is trained to keep her feeling in check and has experience of a kind in field. This is 4th book i read by the author, herself a woman but women just melt after one kiss and she does use that word repeatedly in her novels, feminists must have a fit everytime she begins a sex scene and there are far two many. Its fine if this was just a romance novel but the setting promises historic fantasy of epic proportions as well as historic fiction but romantic traits are dominant in every book which is fine but the author has disappointed me every time on other expectations.
Emperor' Shen and possible rebellion in the empire is central to the plot but we never meat emperors daughter and her husband, they were mentioned once but it would have been better if a bit more was revealed about how they were getting on.
One major issue is the lack of descriptions, in some of her books there is no discription of hero in the entire book, yes they are chinese but still we need alityle more, not even a mention of black hair. We get a bit more in this but still its not that great. Again fairly short book and the fast pace that is attractive as a reader cos of no filler also leads to disappointment because you get to know couole of characters but everything else is just like a cardboard cutout. Endings are rushed every time and 50 0r 100 extra pages and something major at the end would make her books much better as long as tge heroine cant solve everything with a touch and smile. I bout lots of these books for 99p sale so i did get a bargain if i had paid ten plus pounds then i would be writing a very much diffrent type of review. Feel like boris Johnson, didnt expect so much historic events taking place in his govt in one week and all for wrong reasons, these books can be a bit like that.
"The Pearl and the Dragon" ist von der ersten bis zur letzten Seite hoch spannend. Es sind vor allem die beiden Hauptcharaktere von Autorin Jeannie Lin und ihr Verhältnis zu einander, die das Buch prägen. Auf der einen Seite steht Ling Suyin, die Lieblinsgkonkubine des verstorbenen Kaisers, auf der anderen Li Tao, ein Militärgouverneur mit Vorgeschichte. Obwohl sie sich anfangs gegenseitig nicht über den Weg trauen springt der Funke ziemlich schnell über - auch beim Leser.
Die äußeren Umstände (der neue Kaiser ist schwach, die Militärgouverneure mit ihren eigenen Armeen würden zum Teil gerne selbst die Macht ergreifen)zwingen Li Tao zu einer Entscheidung: begeht er zum Wohl seines Landes Hochverrat oder findet sich eine Lösung, bei der sein Leben nicht in Gefahr gerät?
Beide Hauptcharaktäre werden außerdem von ihrer - teilweise in kurzen Rückblicken beleuchteten- Vergangenheit eingeholt.
Erst eine Weile nachdem ich das Buch auf einen Rutsch ausgelesen hatte fielen mir ein paar leichte Schwächen des Plots auf. Die Auflösung am Schluss war zum Beispiel rückblickend ein bisschen zu einfach. Während des Lesens wurde ich allerdings nur an einer Stelle aus der Geschichte gerissen. Bei einem Fest kauft Tao Suyin "...candy made from a nest of spun sugar wound around and around a stick." Chinesische Zuckerwatte im Jahr 759? Ich bin weit davon entfernt ein Experte von chinesischer Geschichte zu sein (oder Zuckerwatte, wenn wir schonmal dabei sind), aber das erschien mir doch irgendwie unwahrscheinlich. Tja, ich hab ein bisschen im Internet recherchiert und siehe da, zumindest etwas über geblasene Zuckerfiguren gefunden. Es hätte mich auch sehr gewundert, wenn in einem Buch, das sonst sehr authentisch wirkt so ein grober Schnitzer vorkäme.
Insgesamt hat mich "The Dragon and the Pearl" mit faszinierenden Charakteren und jeder Menge Spannung überzeugt. Da gönne ich ihnen auch die "Zuckerwatte".