1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
An alternative view of Tzu Tzi, 16 May 2006
Empress Orchid is ranks highly in the vilian list in Chinese history, along with Mao's wife as an example of a scheming evil woman who schemed her way to power through sex, and misuse her power when she got it.
I personally like this book.
I would not see it as a biography, but rather as the author's interpretation of the "facts" she has "researched".
This is obviously an example of of facts mingling with the author'simagination.
There is lots of description of mundane things in court. Some readers like it, some hated it. Personally I loved it. Through this mundane paragraphs (ok. pages) which intrigued and bored me at the same time, I could really emphatise with how life in the Forbidden city brought many women to madness. It is in the desperation that many unimaginable and cruel things happen. In modern times, we probably would have considered these women as psychotic.
We probably will never know the whole truth about her. Let's remember that she was well hated by all the men under her, and envied by all the women.
For someone in her position, she would have been minced meat long time ago, before she even started as the empress if she is not a tough cookie, and has the ability to mete out measures and punishments which would terrorise others.
Was she really an evil hearted, power crazy woman who brought china to its down fall? Or was she just another girl (who is highly intelligent) in a circumstances which she just had to do all she can to hold on to the empire? You got to judge for yourself.
One thing is certain, she was highly intelligent!