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The Moon in the Palace

This Chinese Historical Fiction tale is wonderfully encapsulated by language that immediately brings the reader into the time, place and mind of the main character Mei. The author has written this as the first volume of a duology, “The Empress of Bright Moon.”


Weina Dai Randel is passionate about Chinese History retelling it as an exciting, fascinating period, based on researched characters, using recorded occurrences, and people. A few characters have been added and some facts assumed, but the story is that of Empress Wu, the only woman to rule China.

 The story begins in the “Tang Dynasty, AD 631, the fifth year of Emperor Taizang’s  Reign of Peaceful Prospect.” A young Mei lives with her father, who was Governor of the region, and her wise and loving Mother. They were caring parents who were educated, and delighted to educate and enlighten a very curious Mei. She is given many books to read, among them, the famous, ancient, Chinese book, “The art of war” by Sun Tzu. This book is read today, and certainly Mei’ remembered the principles, using them to stay alive when she was chosen to go to the Emperor’s Palace.

 Mei’s family had fallen on hard times, and at age thirteen, she and fourteen other girls were chosen to live in the Emperor’s Palace to serve him. When the Emperor, or “Most Adored”, had his birthday, everyone wished to give him a memorable gift, and Mei also wanted to bring herself to his attention. She had little money, but devised a clever riddle, and wrote it herself.

 The Emperor heard his men discussing the poem and Mei was brought before him, and included in the inner sanctum. Now the real battle for survival began, as the various women and men in the Court fought for status and to promote their children. The Emperor’s displeasure was easily gained and punishment was instant and deadly.  Through patience, intelligent sifting of information, loyalty, and love, Mei maintains her sought after position in the inner circle; she also falls in love with one of the Emperor’s sons.

 A bloody coup ensued and Mei and her lover survive to prosper.

 It was the intent of the author to write about successful Chinese women who took control of their destinies, and Empress Wu, or Mei , was certainly that woman. The clever and readable way this story is woven is reminiscent of the silkworm’s cocoon, a delicate balance of fine thread, making a powerful shelter.

 Weina Dei Randel has produced a stunning first novel. Her subtle use of language and gentle reflection of characters do not detract from the courage they have or the dangers they will face.


AuthorWeina Dai Randel
PublisherSourcebooks Inc
ISBNWeina Dai Randel
DistributorNew South Books
ReleasedJune 2016