This two volume story is elegant, moving, and fun. The monk, Shuyun, comes to be spiritual advisor to the Shonto family. From there, we have intrigue with the emperor, a barbarian invasion, complex politics, wild battles, and an elegant fictionalized China, complete with lovely poetry. In this volume, we have a running battle with a huge barbarian army, as the Shonto family is caught between the emperor and the barbarians. The brother Shuyun is caught between his duties and a woman, in a very satisfying love story. Excellent story.