The Time of the Dragon Author:Dorothy Eden Sweeping from China to the Thames Valley, spanning seventy-five years in the fortunes of a great trading dynasty, Dorothy Eden spins a spellbinding tale, of three generations of the Carrington family whose dealings in priceless antiques take them to Peking on the eve of the Boxer Rebellion and embroil them in a struggle that will determine their... more » destinies and reach out to touch their heirs even to the present day.
When Nathaniel and Amelia Carrington arrive in Peking in 1899, each has reason to rejoice, Nathaniel in the treasures on which he, as a successful importer, sets his own value, and Amelia, in the exotic beauties of the city itself -- the delicate loveliness of the peach and plum blossoms, the thin sound of windbells in the air, the herons standing stark in the lakes, the labyrinthine rooms of Dragon House, their new home, and the potent sinister fascination of the great Empress Dowager Tz'u-Hsi, like a golden idol at the heart of her opulent palace in the Forbidden City. It was a plan to escape and to forget the searing pain of Nathaniel's betrayal with a young governess back in England.
But the delights of the Orient prove more fragile than the ancient jades and porcelains the Carringtons have come to acquire. The disturbingly beautiful young American whom Nathaniel insists on hiring as governess to their young family serves only to remind Amelia of past pain. And even more ominous are the rumblings of the coming Boxer Rebellion which echo around the Tartar Wall sheltering the Legation District and its "foreign devil." The tide of Chinese nationalism will not be stemmed, and for eight harrowing weeks the Carringtons, as chief among the desecraters of the Chinese heritage, huddle together in the European complex, while marauding Boxers in scarlet headbands and with savage long swords demand their lives. The Chinese Dragon has spewed its venom into the Carrington blood.
Two generations later the rebellion still casts its deadly shadow over the family as Suzie Carrington, the only child born after the siege and named after the Empress Dowager, lives out her fantasies in the decaying family mansion on the banks of the Thames. There she writes and revises the will disposing of the fabulous Carrington collection of stolen Chinese art. And with each new draft of the will the reader comes closer to the heart of the Carrington mystery, as intricate and subtle as a Chinese puzzle.« less