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The White Mirror: Li Du Series, Book 2
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Li Du novels volume 2.
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St. Martin's Publishing Group 2016
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In The White Mirror, the follow-up to Elsa Hart's critically acclaimed debut, Jade Dragon Mountain, Li Du, an imperial librarian and former exile in 18th century China, is now an independent traveler. He is journeying with a trade caravan bound for Lhasa when a detour brings them to a valley hidden between mountain passes. On the icy planks of a wooden bridge, a monk sits in contemplation. Closer inspection reveals that the monk is dead, apparently of a self-inflicted wound. His robes are rent, revealing a strange symbol painted on his chest.

When the rain turns to snow, the caravan is forced to seek hospitality from the local lord while they wait for the storm to pass. The dead monk, Li Du soon learns, was a reclusive painter. According to the family, his bizarre suicide is not surprising, given his obsession with the demon world. But Li Du is convinced that all is not as it seems. Why did the caravan leader detour to this particular valley? Why does the lord's heir sleep in the barn like a servant? And who is the mysterious woman traveling through the mountain wilds?

Trapped in the snow, surrounded by secrets and an unexplained grief that haunts the manor, Li Du cannot distract himself from memories he's tried to leave behind. As he discovers irrefutable evidence of the painter's murder and pieces together the dark circumstances of his death, Li Du must face the reason he will not go home and, ultimately, the reason why he must.

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Format:
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Street Date:
09/06/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781466886391
ASIN:
B01BSNQJUM
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APA Citation (style guide)

Elsa Hart. (2016). The White Mirror: Li Du Series, Book 2. St. Martin's Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Elsa Hart. 2016. The White Mirror: Li Du Series, Book 2. St. Martin's Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Elsa Hart, The White Mirror: Li Du Series, Book 2. St. Martin's Publishing Group, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Elsa Hart. The White Mirror: Li Du Series, Book 2. St. Martin's Publishing Group, 2016. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        Elsa Hart is the author of several acclaimed mystery novels set in eighteenth-century China, including City of Ink, one of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2018.

        She was born in Rome, but her earliest memories are of Moscow, where her family lived until 1991. Since then she has lived in the Czech Republic, the U.S.A., and China. She earned a B.A. from Swarthmore College and a J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law.

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fullDescription

In The White Mirror, the follow-up to Elsa Hart's critically acclaimed debut, Jade Dragon Mountain, Li Du, an imperial librarian and former exile in 18th century China, is now an independent traveler. He is journeying with a trade caravan bound for Lhasa when a detour brings them to a valley hidden between mountain passes. On the icy planks of a wooden bridge, a monk sits in contemplation. Closer inspection reveals that the monk is dead, apparently of a self-inflicted wound. His robes are rent, revealing a strange symbol painted on his chest.

When the rain turns to snow, the caravan is forced to seek hospitality from the local lord while they wait for the storm to pass. The dead monk, Li Du soon learns, was a reclusive painter. According to the family, his bizarre suicide is not surprising, given his obsession with the demon world. But Li Du is convinced that all is not as it seems. Why did the caravan leader detour to this particular valley? Why does the lord's heir sleep in the barn like a servant? And who is the mysterious woman traveling through the mountain wilds?

Trapped in the snow, surrounded by secrets and an unexplained grief that haunts the manor, Li Du cannot distract himself from memories he's tried to leave behind. As he discovers irrefutable evidence of the painter's murder and pieces together the dark circumstances of his death, Li Du must face the reason he will not go home and, ultimately, the reason why he must.

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: USA Today
      • content: "[A] measured, intelligent, first-class debut...The book augurs a brilliant career for Hart: the careful characterization, the beautifully detailed research (minced yak tongue, anyone?), and an innate feel for the enigmatic meanings of murder."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Wall Street Journal
      • content: "First-time novelist Elsa Hart recreates the world of 18th-century China with assurance and skill."
      • premium: False
      • source: Associated Press
      • content: "Jade Dragon Mountain delivers a compelling look at Chinese politics, culture and religion, delivering the complexities of each with a character-rich story...One of the year's most engrossing debuts."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus Reviews
      • content: "Part mystery, part exploration of a culture fading into history's shadows, Hart's novel is a fascinating, intelligent debut...Think Agatha Christie writing Shogun...Captivating."
      • premium: False
      • source: Matthew Pearl
      • content: "Elsa Hart's debut novel demands attention. Elegantly written, tightly controlled, and sweeping, Jade Dragon Mountain will leave its readers thinking as much about the nature of storytelling and memory as the vivid recreation of a poignant period in the history of China."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from July 11, 2016
        Hart seamlessly melds the complex politics of 18th-century Asia with a superior fair-play plot in her second whodunit featuring Chinese librarian Li Du (after 2015’s Jade Dragon Mountain). Li Du, whose successful solution of a high-stakes murder in the previous book ended his political disgrace, has chosen a nomadic existence that lands him with a commercial caravan traveling in the Tibetan mountains, where his group encounters the eerie spectacle of a dead monk on a bridge. The monk, later identified as Dhamo, a painter who lived in a nearby temple, has the image of a white mirror painted on his face. Li Du astutely deduces that Dhamo was murdered, based on something missing from his studio. The sleuth assiduously probes the potential motives of his fellow guests at the manor where the travelers take shelter, among them a visiting dignitary and a Capuchin. The isolated and eerie manor setting is reminiscent of a classic golden age puzzle mystery, and Hart populates it with well-rounded characters. Agent: Stephanie Cabot, Gernert Company.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        July 15, 2016
        The discovery of a murdered monk prompts a scholar to defer an odyssey of self-discovery to search for justice, unearthing even deeper truths.In early 18th-century China, Li Du, the exiled former librarian to the Chinese emperor, attaches himself to a company of muleteers headed north. The discovery of an elderly monk's corpse on the path provides an unwanted complication. Li Du and Kalden, the caravan's leader, continue to the manor that's their destination, where a salon of guests awaits. The head of the household, Dosa, seems suspicious but still offers his hospitality. In fact, he knew the deceased monk, Dhamo. Li Du feels compelled to learn more about Dhamo and his death. The consensus is that he killed himself, though one guest suggests that he was the victim of a demon. Li Du's intellectual curiosity bumps up against the fervor of the assembled company, but he determines to investigate discreetly on his own. His discoveries during a visit to Dhamo's studio lead him away from the presumption of suicide. Li Du finds an ally in Hamza, a caravan member whose authoritative demeanor earns the respect of the assembled company and whose mesmerizing yarn-spinning gives Li Du an opportunity to slip away and investigate further. In peeling away the layers of the mystery, Li Du also learns a great deal about regional customs, history, and philosophy. The second appearance for Hart's hero (Jade Dragon Mountain, 2015) rests firmly on romantic notions of the solitary scholar and intellectual curiosity. Elegantly written, though not to all tastes.

        COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from September 15, 2016
        Li Du, eighteenth-century imperial librarian in exile, returns in this follow-up to the critically acclaimed Jade Dragon Mountain (2015). He is traveling with a caravan bound for Lhasa. The group encounters a monk sitting in peaceful contemplation, but closer inspection reveals that the monk is dead, an apparent suicide, with a strange symbol painted on his chest. Taking shelter from a snowstorm in a nearby manor, Li Du, convinced that the monk was murdered, seeks the killer among suspects who truly believe that demons can kill. This is a man who had once been able to find the answers to all of his questions on the shelves of a library in Beijing. Now he must trudge through the snow in his tattered coat and hat to unravel many secrets that ultimately involve both church and stateincluding Dalai Lamas and tax collectorsbefore the weather clears and his caravan moves on. Hart is a gifted storyteller, and this novel is full of storytellingstories told for amusement, for enlightenment, and for deception. Her writing is intensely detailed, and vivid images range from the bells and bright red plumes of the caravan donkeys to the demon-inspired ornamentation of a mountaintop monastery. Highly recommended for fans of Robert Van Gulik's venerated Judge Dee stories, and readers lamenting the conclusion of Laura Joh Rowland's Sano Ichiro series.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from September 1, 2016

        It's the autumn of 1708, and imperial librarian and traveler Li Du, introduced in Jade Dragon Mountain, is on the move again, this time as part of a caravan taking a shortcut to reach the Tibetan trading city of Lhasa. When a bad storm forces the caravan to shelter at a manor house in a remote mountain valley, the group stumbles upon the body of renowned--and reclusive--painter Dhamo, presumably a victim of suicide. Of course, all is not as it appears, and the investigation sets in motion events that lead to escalating danger for the entire valley. The mountains are high, the politics compelling, and the culture fascinating and rich. With so much complexity, the author can be forgiven if there are occasionally too many plot threads going, some of which are resolved rather neatly. VERDICT Fans of the first book who wished to know more about the enigmatic Li Du will be well rewarded here. Readers who appreciate historical mysteries, especially the classic "Judge Dee" series by Robert van Gulik, will be enthralled by this fascinating mystery.--Liz Kirchhoff, Barrington Area Lib., IL

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        April 1, 2016

        Hart, who burst forth last year with the wondrously praised Jade Dragon Mountain, returns with a second novel featuring former imperial librarian Li Du. Here, he's traveling with a trade caravan bound for Lhasa that suddenly detours to a hidden valley, where he discovers a dead monk sitting seemingly in contemplation on a wooden bridge, his clothes torn to reveal a mysterious symbol on his chest. As a sudden snowstorm forces the caravan to seek shelter at the home of a local lord, Li Du determines that what looked like suicide is actually murder.

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        September 1, 2016

        It's the autumn of 1708, and imperial librarian and traveler Li Du, introduced in Jade Dragon Mountain, is on the move again, this time as part of a caravan taking a shortcut to reach the Tibetan trading city of Lhasa. When a bad storm forces the caravan to shelter at a manor house in a remote mountain valley, the group stumbles upon the body of renowned--and reclusive--painter Dhamo, presumably a victim of suicide. Of course, all is not as it appears, and the investigation sets in motion events that lead to escalating danger for the entire valley. The mountains are high, the politics compelling, and the culture fascinating and rich. With so much complexity, the author can be forgiven if there are occasionally too many plot threads going, some of which are resolved rather neatly. VERDICT Fans of the first book who wished to know more about the enigmatic Li Du will be well rewarded here. Readers who appreciate historical mysteries, especially the classic "Judge Dee" series by Robert van Gulik, will be enthralled by this fascinating mystery.--Liz Kirchhoff, Barrington Area Lib., IL

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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In the follow-up to Elsa Hart's critically acclaimed debut, Jade Dragon Mountain, Li Du, an imperial librarian and former exile in 18th century China, is now an independent traveler. He is journeying with a trade caravan bound for Lhasa when a detour brings them to a valley hidden between mountain passes. On the icy planks of a wooden bridge, a monk sits in contemplation. Closer inspection reveals that the monk is dead, apparently of a self-inflicted wound. His robes are rent, revealing a strange symbol painted on his chest.

When the rain turns to snow, the caravan is forced to seek hospitality from the local lord while they wait for the storm to pass. The dead monk, Li Du soon learns, was a reclusive painter. According to the family, his bizarre suicide is not surprising, given his obsession with the demon world. But Li Du is convinced that all is not as it seems. Why did the caravan leader detour to this particular valley? Why does the lord's heir sleep in the...

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Li Du Series, Book 2
publisher
St. Martin's Publishing Group