This story depicts the epic saga adventure set in the 14th century, China portraying their way of life in that time period. The Ming Dynasty was in rule and Zyrius was Emperor.
Zyrius and his wife Olla had two sons. At the birth of the second son it was said that he bore the mark of disaster. That he would be weak in strength and character and amount to nothing.
The famous, witch and midwife who were very powerful and feared by everyone declared this statement. When the Emperor heard this news he was greatly distressed and immediately developed a dislike for the child. Both parents were disinterested in the second son, and all except his teachers and his father’s advisors thought that the boy was very bright.
The older son was Chuing and the second son was Gen-lee. Gen-lee was a fast learner. He loved reading and spent a lot of his time in the library reading, and when he wasn’t reading or being taught by his private ambassadors, he would be out in the nearby forest playing with the animals that took to his kind nature.
Now Chuing was more like his father. Zyrius was cruel, barbaric, ruthless, arrogant and merciless and loved hunting wild animals and killing them. And Chuing learned from a young age as he accompanied his father on all his trips and enjoyed the killing. Chuing knew that his parents favoured him and he felt powerful as young as he was. His arrogance grew and his taste for wild killing also grew.
Olla came to see Gen-lee’s caring nature and accepted him for it. In private she would speak to him as an equal, but when Zyrius and Chuing were around she would ignore Gen-lee. In those times women had to be obedient and agree with their husband’s even if they were wrong. If one’s husband even thought that his wife disapproved or was not agreeable, then punishment or abandonment would be yours. So women were always compliant, never questioning anything.
Friction and rivalry grew between the two brothers who couldn’t see eye to eye. They both knew that soon either one of them would take over from their father, and they both wanted to be next in line as Emperor. Now the girls really took to Gen-Lee with his good looks and kind gentle manner, though slightly shy and reserved in his mannerism when it came to girls. However Chuing was not a favourite with the girls, who found him unattractive and arrogant. The Emperor and his soldiers raided and looted and killed many people and took many prisoners. This was their life and they enjoyed it. Soon the brothers had a fight and Gen-lee defeated Chuing who was embarrassed. Gen-lee knew that he had to leave as there would be no rest with his brother until he killed him, as they both wanted the throne and neither of them was going to give up without a fight. But Gen-lee knew his brother’s way of thinking and how cunning and cruel he was, so he decided to leave for a while. Meanwhile the people were unhappy with the reigning dynasty. They were treated unfairly, overworked with little food for their families and were made to feel inferior by the higher ranks. Gen-lee wanted to change the rules and to welcome more traders to China.
Flying-wing who had friendship with the emperor had influence over him in all areas concerning the Kingdom. Flying-wing’s younger sister was the Emperor’s first wife, before Olla, and after the birth of a badly deformed baby, she died. All this was due to Flying-wing’s concocted brews, which allowed her infertile sister to conceive. The deformed baby was taken away and never heard of again. Olla was secretly having an affair with the Emperor while his wife was most of the time sick. Flying wing knew of the affair and never spoke a word of it to her sister and she resented Olla every since and swore that she will have revenge on Olla and the Emperor. The Emperor’s advisors warned him about his affiliation with Flying-wing, telling him that he should not confide with her regarding his affairs, but Zyrius disregarded their warnings. Gen-lee was attacked by villains and left for dead in the desert, and was found by two herbalist, who nursed him back to health, however he had lost his memory for a while, and made a speedy recovery.
Meanwhile Chuing had gotten several wives, all of whom failed to bare him a son and without mercy he got rid of each one of them, sending them to the common quarters, were they lived like common folk. As Zyrius health deteriorate, Chuing delighted more at the thought of taking over from his father. But then Flying-wing suggested that the far-away herbalist be brought in to help Zyrius. Word was sent and by that time Gen-lee had fully recovered from his memory loss and he returned to the palace in a disguise in place of the herbalist. And administered the healing herbs to his sick father who didn’t recognize him, nobody did. Chuing secretly mixed poison with the herbs that seemed to be curing his father, and Gen-lee’s disguise was exposed and the blame was on him for the death of Zyrius his father.
In prison, Gen-lee discovered a girl in the next cell, called Mai-ling who was soon to be executed by Chuing for refusing to marry him. However, with the help of Flying-wing they escaped to the forbidden forest. Before the escape Flying-wing revealed to Gen-lee the true confession about the mark on his ear. She told that the mark on his ear was a symbol of greatness, and not weak feebleness like she had said. Flying-wing wanted vengeance on Olla who was stealing her young sister’s place as queen next to Zyrius. Flying-wing told him that it was him who should be in rule, and not Chuing.
The two fell in love, got married and had a son called Jasper. Often they visited the villages and sold fresh fruits and vegetables, always dressed in perfect disguise. But one day they got caught out and were brought to the palace and their disguises were removed. Chuing had Gen-lee taken to a faraway prison and forced Mai-ling to become his wife and she refused, but worked as his personal cook, and Chuing took little Jasper under his wing. Then came wife number six, called Mina, who was as sharp as a needle and tried to poison Chuing, but was found out by beady eyed Olla, who trusted nobody. Mina, who claimed that she was pregnant, was sent packing, out of the kingdom. In the harsh desert Mina met up with fate, that would possibility change her life and Chuing’s. In the faraway prison, Gen-lee devised a plan of escape, which was successful. He arrived back in time to save his wife from the dread that she had been forced into. It was the marriage between Chuing and Mai-ling who was soon to become husband and wife. Gen-lee acted in a sudden fit of fury and over powered an unsuspecting smug Chuing and defeated him. With Flying-wing assisting Mai-ling from the hands of the forceful women who were escorting her down the aisle, unto the hand of Chuing. Gen-lee boldly ordered the soldiers to imprison Chuing immediately, and they jumped to it. Gen-lee took control and made changes in the kingdom, which pleased the people. Olla was delighted to have her son back, but she didn’t like the idea of her son’s hating and imprisoning each other.
Meanwhile Mina returned to the palace with a four year-old boy, claiming that Chuing was the father of her child. Gladly they were accepted. In the desert Mina had come across a woman who was screaming in agony in a tiny house. When she got in the house she found the woman lying on the floor giving birth. Mina assisted her, but to her surprise, the woman shoved the newborn baby and said she didn’t want it, as the father was no other than Chuing, who raped her and killed her husband, Mina saw this as an opportunity to get back to the palace and nobody would know the difference. She took the baby and fled and lied low for a while. Now back in the palace they were treated like royalty. Gen-lee’s heart softened and ordered Chuing’s release. Chuing was forgiven and welcomed back. At a family feast, Chuing met Mina and the little boy. He was pleased with this little boy who seemed to melt his heart. Everyone bought into it. Chuing had the perfect act going on. Gen-lee and some of his soldiers had left for an adventurous trip and Chuing thought up a wicked plan. Nobody suspected that he would resort to his old ways.
After a long while of fooling everyone, he secretly had a plan to get rid of Gen-lee and Jasper for good. In the village Chuing rounded up some villains who were every ready to make some money. He told them to kidnap Jasper and devise a plan to murder Gen-lee and to do it quick, without delay. Their eyes grew big when they saw the gold Chuing showed them. Hastily they carried out the order, but made a big mistake and kidnapped the wrong boy. Chuing’s son was taken and sold to a slave merchant, but luck should have it that one of Gen-lee’s men spotted the boy who was kicking and screaming at the merchant. Quickly the soldier alerted Gen-lee to take a look.They approached the merchant asking if they could pay him for the boy and the merchant refused and cursed them. Then Gen-lee and his soldiers took the boy by force and didn’t pay the merchant a cent. Returning home they were met half way by messengers sent by Flying-wing to warn Gen-lee of Chuing’s murder plot, and that he had planned the kidnap of Jasper, but it all turned wrong.
The soldiers apprehended the villains who were so afraid they told everything and Chuing was escorted back to prison. Now Gen-lee knew that his brother would never change. So he had Chuing and his wives and a few servants escorted to a far away broken down fortress, which Gen-lee had restored and built up for them. Chuing could not escape. Flying-wing showed the wives how to conjure up this special brew, which they had to administer to Chuing daily to keep him mellow, subdued like. That was their new home. And there they stayed and enjoyed the rest of their days. The wives enjoyed every minute of it. Gen-lee and his family lived happily and ruled for a long time.
Twisted EDGES: 14th Century China as never before… by Jennifer King
TWISTED Edges: … 14th Century China As Never Before! Jennifer King | PrettyFamous http://books.prettyfamous.com/l/8923090/TWISTED-Edges-14th-Century-China-As-Never-Before-Jennifer-King?utm_source=email&utm_medium=share
This book casts a spell on the reader from the word go. Set in 14th century China, the characters are designed to provide an exotic blend of events. The beauty of this story lies in the simplicity of the concept – a feud between brothers. Where the author Jennifer King adds her touch is, giving her characters a free mind to let the events and storyline evolve rather than forcing any turn of events.
A beautifully written book that you wouldn’t want to put down until you’ve reached the back cover.
REVIEW – Found on Pinterest.
Twisted Edges This is a review. Read Twisted Edges By Jennifer King This book is superb! I could not put it down the characters are engaging. The story line is powerful. “ The fight for the throne, the wives who get their revenge.” The bloody struggle, the powerful herbalist, the rejection, the remorse, the forgiveness, the Love and the hate. This Thriller resulting in a near breathless pace which had me bound to this book right to the end. Found on Pinterest.
Lianca Simons Review of Twisted Edges author: Jennifer King.
A very intriguing book. It has a twist in the tale. It keeps one in the story. You even have a character picture of each person in the story. I love stories which have a happy ending. I would recommend this book as the writer keeps you hooked on the book with suspense and you keep reading wanting to know what will happen next. email@example.com
Review by Mrs. Jill de Laat.
This is an interesting book. A historical novel set in fourteenth century China (during the Ming dynasty), Twisted Edges is a densely plotted tale of treachery and conflict, built around the story of two brothers and their rival bids for the throne of their father, the emperor.
The setting is China in the early part of the Ming dynasty. The reigning emperor is Zyrius, a strong and warlike man and a tyrannical ruler. The story opens with the births of his two sons, Chuing and Gen-lee. Chuing grows to be like his father, arrogant, aggressive and callous. Gen-lee, by contrast, is gentle, honest and kind, beloved by his mother and everyone who knows him – except his father and brother, who disdain him as a weakling. Both are wrong, as he conceals an iron strength beneath his gentle nature.
The first part of the story is focused on with Gen-lee. The rivalry between the two boys as they are growing up, and culminates lee’s temporary exile. Having gone missing, and presumed to be dead, he returns to the palace in disguise (a recurring theme throughout the story) and attempts to nurse the dying emperor, his father. This brings us to the central pivot of the novel, wherein the dying Zyrius repents his past treatment of Gen-lee. But it is to late. Realizing that Gen-lee’s medical skills are working, and impatient for the throne, Chuing cunningly slips poison in the medicine, then exposes Gen-lee’s identity, accusing him of murdering the emperor. Thus Chuing becomes emperor while Gen-lee is thrown in prison.
This brings us to the conclusion of the first half of the story. It’s a very strong build-up, filled with incident and character development. Holding it together is the binary moral opposition of the two brothers, while hovering in the background and lending an air of uncertainty is the woman known as Flying-wing, the midwife who delivered the two brothers, who has a reputation as a sorceress. It was she who marked Gen-lee out as a weakling, and used her influence to make Chuing the favorite. But, like Zyrius, she comes to regret her actions. Thus begins the second half of the novel, in which Gen-lee makes his long journey back from jeopardy.
In prison he meets and falls in love with Mai-ling, a young woman imprisoned for rebelling against Chuing, who wanted her as a wife. The couple helped to escape by Flying-wing, and they flee into exile, where they get married. The centerpiece of the second act is Gen-lee’s return to the palace in disguise (echoing his earlier venture). He succeeds in deposing Chuing, who then begins plotting against his brother. The story reaches a climax in which Chuing is set to seize back the throne, but is finally thwarted and sent into permanent exile. It’s a satisfying ending, in keeping with the moral thrust of the plot.
The style of narration is close to the style found in folklore and in ancient non-poetic saga and epic. The plot is a thriller-like adventure, which results in a near-breathless pace.
That isn’t the only benefit. Twisted Edges has a remarkable fluidity that is frequently almost poetic, and is a delight to read. Interestingly, for those who are aware enough to sense it, the very style itself (which most readers will have at least a passing familiarity with from old fairy tales and the ‘bumpers’ included in some historical movies) lends the novel a sense of period and place.
In conclusion, Twisted Edges is an original and very interesting work of fiction. There is a charming purity to it, and to its characters and moral freight, which is very engaging. Readers will find it fresh, intriguing and entertaining. I recommend it.
As you can see from the Reader’s Report, we found Twisted Edges to be a work of considerable merit that has many things in its favor, not least the writing style and sophisticated plotting and characterization. Any resulting publication would have a potential target readership amongst a wide audience. For all of these reasons I would be delighted to make an offer of publication for Twisted Edges as a most worthy book would result, which will generate a great deal of interest.
With best wishes
Mrs Jill de Laat
Head of Publishing