Monday, August 24, 2015

Jade Dragon Mountain by Elsa Hart

Li Du was in exile.  He'd been a librarian and was unfortunate enough to be friendly with a man the Emperor disciplined.  Since then, he was exiled and spent most his time in the mountains and forest.  The peace he found there was worth the cost of leaving his job behind.  When he drops in to visit his cousin on way to a new location, he gets asked to stay.  The Emperor is coming and his cousin needs help dealing with the arriving diplomats.  He agrees.  He never ended to get involved with murder...

St. Martin's Press and Net Galley gave me the opportunity read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 1st.

I enjoyed the location of this story and the way the characters worked things out in a slower style with lots of traditions and taboos about what could and couldn't be asked.  Li Du was an unassuming man, but he was upset over the Jesuit father's death.  He knew he was poisoned.  And he set about proving it.  The problem was that even with that proof, he didn't know why he was killed or by whom.  When he presses too long, his cousin tells him he can investigate it and gives him a few days to do it in.  If he doesn't find the killer, he may end up accused himself.

The village has swollen in size as people gather to see the Emperor.  It's elbow to elbow in the streets.  How do you find a suspect in that mess?  Then there's the issues of politics, trade, and past history.  Which one influenced this death?  Is this the only death planned?  

I really enjoyed this read.  I like reading about other cultures, especially old cultures.   Part of how they act has to do with heritage.  There are nuances you can't see.  This story had more than one conspiracy going on.  Li Du will be happy to go back the forest, I'm sure.  Although he has another option at the end of the story.

Anyone with an interest in Asian history or just likes to read a good mystery will like this book.  I did.

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