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The story

I will now abandon my scribblings to the flames. Decipher them in the smoke spiralling up from the fireplace! Take note of my unwavering love for you, and then you shall vanish out of my life like a wisp of vapour.

Forgive me for hoping against hope to find love with a stranger!

Yet never shall I spill my love for you, Xueqin, on anyone else, just as White Lotus – or any triad – will never restore China to the lost lustre you in your innocence dreamt of.

Squeezed between past and future loves, between delicate grace and an almost ruthless literary ambition, ancient obeisance and timeless magnanimity of spirit, the heroine in The Pavilion of Forgotten Concubines must survive palace intrigue to keep her head on her shoulders. Life in the aftermath of the Qianlong era being precarious, Lady Cao Baoqin treads on egg shells. Described by Counsellor Heshen as a ‘two-faced demon’, she braves ill-intentioned officials with all the tact she can muster. But her eventful life is and will remain full of dramatic reversals. Wistful as she may be over White Lotus’ dealings, she is soon to join their rank and file.