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My Splendid Concubine
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Cover art by Xu Xiao-dong
Zhouzhuang, China

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No Westerner has ever achieved Robert Hart’s status and level of power in China. Driven by a passion for his adopted country, Hart became the “godfather of China’s modernism,” inspector general of China’s Customs Service, and the builder of China’s railroads, postal and telegraph systems, and schools.

But his first real love is Ayaou, a young concubine. Soon after arriving in China in 1854, Hartfalls in love with Ayaou, but his feelings for her sister go against the teachings of his Christian upbringing and almost break him emotionally. To survive he must learn how to live and think like the Chinese.

He also finds himself thrust into the second bloodiest conflict in history, the Taiping Rebellion, where he ends up making enemies of men such as the American soldier of fortune known as the Devil Soldier.

During his first years in China, Robert experiences a range of emotion from bliss to despair. Like Damascus steel, he learns to be both hard and flexible, which forges his character into the great man he is yet to become. Full of humanity, passion, and moral honesty, My Splendid Concubine is the deeply intimate story of Hart’s loyalty and love for his adopted land and the woman who captured his heart.

                        

                     Sir Robert Hart (1835 - 1911)

Read the free EBook, ,  2nd Edition, written by his niece, Juliet Bredon. publication date: 1910

 

 

Empress Dowager Tzu Hsi     (1835 to 1909)

… It was well known that the Empress rewarded loyalty. Robert hoped to take advantage of that.

     She glanced left and right and the eunuchs backed out of earshot. She leaned toward him as if they were old friends.

   “I had a concubine once,” Robert said in a low voice, so the eunuchs couldn’t record what he said for the Imperial archives. It was a chapter out of his life that few knew of, and he wanted to share it with this Empress. He was sure she’d understand like none in Ireland or England would. Not even the members of his family would understand. It was because he didn’t want to embarrass his family that he was planning to burn the diaries that covered those critical years.

   “Her name was Ayaou,” he said, but his secret didn’t start with her. It started with a ten-year-old boy wanting to sell him a woman. (My Splendid Concubine - Chapter One)

 

 

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