this book intrigued me because of the summary i read on the inside flap, how this person seduced the emperor. it was even more appealing that this was basically a documentary of a person's life. it provided a nice reprieve from the modern chinese novels that i had been reading recently. i liked learning about the imperial court life by learning about the culture and the politics. it made me appreciate it more, and realize what a great loss the country suffered when communism eventually made its way around (which would happen much later). it also put the whole sphere of influence into a different perspective and how China must have felt, knowing that they were at the start of civilization,and for all of it's inventions and pomp and circumstance, still was defenseless against any person that opposed their standard beliefs. (though, the manchus had done that to the chinese). i also liked the emphasis on manchu vs chinese, because that is rarely hilighted and i hadn't even heard of it before.