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The Sword Dancer (Mills & Boon Largeprint Historical) [Large Print] [Hardcover]

Jeannie Lin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Oct 2013 Mills & Boon Largeprint Historical
THE THIEF WHO STOLE HIS HEART Sword dancer Li Feng is used to living life on the edge of the law – a woman alone in the dangerous world of the Tang Dynasty has only her whirlwind reflexes to trust. She will discover the truth about her past, even if that means outwitting the most feared thief-catcher of them all… Relentless, handsome and determined, Han sees life – and love – as black and white. Until he finally captures the spirited, courageous Li Feng, who makes him question everything he thought he knew about right and wrong. Soon he’s faced with an impossible choice: betray the elusive sword dancer he is learning to love, or trust his long-disregarded heart and follow her to dangerous, tempting rebellion… ‘Beautifully written, deliciously sensual… Exceptional.’ Library Journal on The Dragon and the Pearl

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Mills & Boon; Large type edition edition (4 Oct 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0263232867
  • ISBN-13: 978-0263232868
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 13.8 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

More About the Author

USA TODAY bestselling author Jeannie Lin grew up fascinated with stories of Western epic fantasy and Eastern martial arts adventures. When her best friend introduced her to romance novels in middle school, the stage was set. Jeannie started writing her first book while working as a high school science teacher in South Central Los Angeles.

Jeannie is known for writing groundbreaking historical romances set in Tang Dynasty China with Asian heroes and heroines starting with her Golden Heart award-winning debut, Butterfly Swords. Her Asian historicals have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Library Journal and The Dragon and the Pearl was listed among Library Journal's Best Romances of 2011.

She currently writes two historical romance series for Harlequin Historical and HQN featuring Chinese warriors and scholars, courtesans and swordswomen. Beginning in 2014, she will be starting a steampunk series set during the Opium Wars.

Titles by Jeannie Lin:
The Jade Temptress (The Lotus Palace #2)
The Lotus Palace
Butterfly Swords
The Dragon and the Pearl
My Fair Concubine
The Sword Dancer

For updates, sign up for her newsletter at:
Find out more about Jeannie Lin online at

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sword Dancer 21 Jun 2013
By Clare O'Beara TOP 500 REVIEWER
Li Feng dances to entertain a crowd in a Chinese town, her sword on this occasion a dulled prop. But when thief catchers, bounty hunters, try to arrest her on suspicion of theft she runs, leading a merry chase over rooftops and down lanes before being cornered. Han the thief catcher turns her in, but he doesn't know if the lovely girl has committed a crime, and having watched her move he's convinced she's had martial arts training at Wudang Mountain.

Li has indeed been up to no good - a tyrant warlord called General Wang rules Fujian province and she has been one of the dissidents stealing his grain and returning it to taxed, impoverished villagers. A shipment of jade and gold however was far more serious. From this the girl took three jade pendants, kin to one which is all she has left of her mother. Now she's enquiring about the jade, but the craftsmen have reported her. Han loses her and catches her again, then decides to take her on the back of his horse to Taining city to collect his payment. The magistrates will sentence her to a beating, maybe worse... even execution. The resourceful Li Feng however pretends that he is a slave trader and angry inn patrons come to her aid - but for how long can she evade him? Han is determined to see if there is any truth to the tale of corruption she has exposed.

I loved the descriptions of China in the 800s, with public bath houses in the cities and outlaws in the 'rivers and lakes' terrain. Food is largely rice and vegetables, meat being for the wealthy; also the meat may be snake. Bamboo is used to manufacture anything from hats to scaffolding. The characters speak carefully to those of higher status, flattery and saving face being all-important.
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4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars. 4 Jun 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
THE SWORD DANCER is the latest release in Jeannie Lin's series of historical romance/adventure novels set in the Tang Dynasty of China. I contacted Jeannie before reading the novel to ensure that I would not be confused or lost as the book is labeled number four, but she reassured me that each storyline is a stand-alone and the only connection is the historical period of the Tang Dynasty.

The premise focuses on sword dancer Li Feng avenging the loss of her family and Hao Han, a thief-collector whose latest target is Li Feng and the troupe of performers and dancers with whom she is travelling. As one of the most regaled thief-collectors it is Han's duty to hunt those held responsible for crimes against the government and the people, but his latest target slowly chips away at the cold façade and heart of a man whose life revolves around crime and punishment.

The storyline follows Han and Li Feng as they play a game of cat and mouse, all the while Li Feng searching for the man/men responsible for destroying her family and her childhood. While Han wants the man brought to justice, Li Feng wants revenge and retribution. Not only does Li Feng run for her life, but for her heart as well, as she begins to fall for the man ordered to bring her in.

Throughout the story the couple will discover that the search for those responsible goes much deeper than they first suspect. The storyline is awash in political intrigue and mystery, death and loss, action and adventure, suspense, espionage and vigilante justice. And we cannot forget about the developing relationship between Han and Li Feng. There is a mutual attraction between the pair: what started out as hunter and the hunted will become one of friendship out of necessity; and lovers over time.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  27 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Batman Versus Catwoman 20 May 2013
By fredtownward - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If you've never tried one of Jeannie Lin's Tang Dynasty China historical romances (and if you haven't, boy, are you missing out!), you are in luck because this standalone novel is arguably one of her two most accessible to readers unfamiliar with Chinese culture and history, the other being My Fair Concubine whose basic premise greatly resembles that of My Fair Lady. The premise of The Sword Dancer on the other hand resembles one seen with some frequency in comic books (and their TV and movie adaptations) about costumed vigilantes and the costumed villains they fight: a hero and a villain being attracted to each other despite operating on opposite sides of the law. The most famous of these relationships (and the most long lived, not to mention the most convoluted) is that between Batman and Catwoman, which dates to 1940.

Sword Dancer Li Feng is a good deal more than just that. First of all, she has been raised/trained by a master swordsman and has adopted sword dancing mostly as a disguise and as a way to earn a living while she pursues her real goal. Second, without really thinking it through, she managed to let herself get involved in a revolution and a heist that has attracted the law's unwelcome attention to her. But her real goal is to find out what happened to her mother during a tragedy half remembered as a very small child, why it happened, and just exactly who she really is.

Among professional thief catchers (bounty hunters) Zheng Hao Han is something of an anomaly and not merely because he is very good at it. As the eldest son of a disgraced former magistrate, he once studied the law in order to follow in his father's footsteps, but now he follows a darker path in his quest for justice.

Funny thing is that they are BOTH seeking to uncover truths and right wrongs, but their methods are utterly incompatible...

so it is just too bad that they are so darn attracted to each other. As Thirst for Revenge leads Unrelenting Pursuit a merry chase, accommodations are reached in order to seek the truth together and spend SOME time with one another, but any future together is impossible, right?

Then again this is a Jeannie Lin novel where the impossible CAN happen,...

but only after Ms. Lin has first rendered it as utterly and completely impossible as she can without sabotaging her thread-the-multiple-needles ending.

Note: I entered a contest where we were given the title and the basic premise and asked to guess what the cover illustration would look like. My guess was "the heroine... dancing... with a sword...."

For some odd reason I didn't win.

Note: For full disclosure I received this book from the author in return for agreeing to review it.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical Romance That Offers Action, Intrigue, and Forbidden Romance all in one 22 May 2013
By Sophia Rose - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When I get the opportunity to read historical romance with a setting that is not the typical, I am always intrigued. China is a magical place with scope for a good, hearty story. I have read one other book by this author in the same historical time period and it was a wonderful blend of history, adventure and romance so I was eager to give this one a try.

The story begins when a thief-taker, Han, pursues his hunch that the thieves to a shipment of jade are traveling with a performing troupe. He is mesmerized when the beautiful sword dancer does her routine not just with grace, but expertise showing she is familiar with wielding the sword as a weapon. At the end of her performance, a group of impatient bounty hunters rush in to take captive the troupe. The sword dancer runs and he goes with his gut feeling and pursues her. Han is led on a merry chase that takes him through, around, over and under the small village until he catches her when another thief-taker blocks her path. He is awed by the grace and athleticism that allows her to scale walls, balance on roofs and dart through the narrow alleys like her dance. During the pursuit, she surprised him by not letting him fall off a roof when she could have used it as the opportunity to get far away. This begins his suspicion that she is no ordinary thief.

Li Feng can't believe her luck when the best thief-taker in the province captures her and brings her to a holding cell with plans to take her back to the magistrate for the jade theft- a theft that she participated in as an act to weaken the warlord it was destined for and not an act out of greed. She knew it was a mistake to get caught up in that cause when she had her own personal quest going on. With little effort, she escapes the jail and continues her pursuit to find her mother who was taken from her leaving her an orphan. Her only clue is the piece of jade her mother gave her before disappearing with a pack of armed men.

Han has never trailed someone who roused his curiosity as much as Li Feng. She acts like no normal thief or criminal he has seen. She doesn't show a hint that she was guilty of a crime- no trying to get rid of her loot, no greedy behavior, just a trail of visits to jade sellers and craftsman. He captures her again and she escapes him again. Each time, he learns a little more about his fugitive. She is trained in the warrior arts and she pursues her own quest. He used to think justice is justice- black and white, but now he begins to wonder. Li Feng is not without honor even it if is not the same as his own. Bigger things are afoot involving powerful figures in the shadows who orchestrated the event of the theft and signs of corruption that are going on. He doesn't want the small fish; he wants to bring down the whole rotten group and the sword dancer is his only lead.

Li Feng grows accustomed to the tenacious thief-taker finding her and eventually they strike a truce to start working together. She knows eventually she must get away from him because they are fundamentally different, but in the meantime she allows the attraction between them knowing it will tear out a piece of her heart when they part. Toward the end, the trail of clues leads her to unexpected truths that make her choices all the more difficult though duty to family allows for there to only be one real choice in the end. The same can be said for Han because his principles lead him to the point where he must choose justice or Li Feng now that he knows her secrets.

The plot was riveting from the first page. I loved the action sequences of Li Feng's flight to escape and Han's pursuit to capture. The mystery of the past that Li Feng cannot remember, but pieces together as she pursues one clue after another was full of intrigue and then the constant feeling of danger from people in the present worked well against the quiet moments when Li Feng and Han start up a rather unique love affair. Both characters are well aware that the feelings they have can lead to nowhere since their lives and actions have placed them on opposite sides of the law. I think that made their stolen moments of tenderness and togetherness all the more richer. They dance around each other for a while, but finally give in to their mutual passion. These two were so perfect for each other and together so I was vested to find out how the author would pull off a happily ever after for them with one being a criminal and one set to uphold the law. As the book pushed forward, it got even more and more hopeless, but that's what kept me reading.

Backdrop was descriptive and felt authentic. Social norms, clothing, class system, description of the scenes were all well done, but they were baked into the story in such a way that it was just there running along with the plot and not taking it over.

This was such a satisfying read and I recommend it to those who enjoy historical romance with some spice, some taunt action and an exotic setting.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flying through the air with life! 21 May 2013
By Judith Peterson - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Sword Dancer is written with grace and beauty. No other author has the keen ability to make words works of art. I commend Jeannie for her skill and thank her for sharing her skill with the world.

The Sword Dancer is a book that is fun and keeps you interested until the last page. Treat yourself to this book. You deserve it. You truly do.

If you have not read "Butterfly Swords", "The Dragon and the Pearl", and "My Fair Concubine", do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of each today.

As I stated previously, no author writes as if it was an old masterpiece. Jeannie Lin's work are works of art. True art that should be savored and enjoyed and shared.

It's time for you to savor and enjoy.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Action-packed historical romance set in China 22 May 2013
By Bookworm Dreams - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Asia, especially China and Japan, have always been an interesting topic for me. Trips to these countries are too expensive, so the only way I can visit them is through books. The Sword Dancer immediately got my attention with a picture of a girl in a kimono wielding a sword on a cover. I haven't heard about sword dancing before, but I was intrigued and ready to let Jeannie Lin tell me more about it.

The Sword Dancer's plot revolves around two characters: sword dancer Wen Li Feng and thief-catcher (kinda like western bounty hunter) Zheng Hao Han and they switch as narrators of the story. Han is searching for thieves who stole a large shipment of jade and he follows a lead to a traveling show. Han immediately notices that girl dancing with swords (Li Feng) has too much skill and that's how the chase begins. Over the rooftops and through various villages in China, our heroes try to outwit each other while also in the same time trying not to fall in love.

When I started reading The Sword Dancer I expected historical fiction similar to Pearl S. Buck's, instead I got a story that is much more focused on action and romance than on a historical details. It was like going to the cinema expecting to see The Last Emperor and viewing Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon instead. The chasing was fun and forbidden romance was intense, but the whole story did not leave any deeper impression on me and I didn't learn as much as I hoped about China in that time period.

Still I cannot say I did not enjoy The Sword Dancer. It was a pleasant surprise reading about a hero and heroine who are not typical and defy the usual cliches in romance novels. They are both average looking and always make the best of the cards that are dealt to them and strive to overcome their past problems and tragic family history.

As an action-packed historical romance set in China, The Sword Dancer is a recommended read for both lovers of historical romance or romantic suspense who would like a change of scenery. You will get kick-ass heroine, honorable hero, forbidden romance and a lot of chase and action scenes to entertain you. And with no strong ties to other books in Tang Dynasty series, The Sword Dancer can be read as a stand-alone novel.

Disclaimer: I was given a free eBook by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars MAkes you feel you are in the Tang Dynasty 26 Aug 2013
By Jo Short - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Wen Li Feng remembers losing her family when she was only three years old. All she has left is a piece of jade from her mother. When a shipment of gold and jade is stolen from a security warehouse, thief catchers are searching for the thief or thieves. Li Feng is traveling with a group of traveling entertainers that draw the attention of the theif catchers. While performing a beautiful sword dance she catches the eye of the most famous thief catcher Zheng Hao Han. She runs and Hao Han sets out to bring her in, believing she was involved in the theft. He soon discovers he is in for a long and intriguing chase.

Based on a poem, Jeannie Lin has written a wonderful story that takes place in 848 AD China during the Tang Dynasty. Not knowing much about China, I found the characters and the settings drawing me in as did the movie "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing", only with a happily ever after ending.
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