A historical novel based on fact about the Empress Dowager Cixi life in the Forbidden City, in Beijing, China. A linear narrative documenting the Empress’s greatest triumphs alongside her private life. The loss of the Emperor at a young age and her plight to keep power by adopting a nephew to ascend to the throne. Describes what courtly life may have been like in the Forbidden City at the turn of the century. Plenty of intrigue with eunuch’s and concubines. The main thrust of the novel is the idea of divisions outside the city and inside and the struggle to get what is clearly impossible. a life outside the walls. It was a violent period in China’s history and this is reflected in the number of conflicts going on in the country that the Empress has to govern.