Exiled from the mysterious Lands Born from Smoke and Sacrifice, which had been magically formed from the lost lore of Imperial China, seven men and six women declare themselves the Thirteen Orphans. Each Orphan is mystically connected to one of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac, with the multifaceted Cat as thirteenth. Now, a century later, rivals from the Lands have come to Earth to lay claim to the Orphans' powers. When battles in the Lands leave them stranded in modern California, these rivals are forced into a reluctant alliance with those they had hunted.The leaders of the two groups - Pearl Bright, the Tiger, and Righteous Drum, the Dragon - find that their age and wisdom provide a solid foundation for a working partnership. Yet mutual suspicion persists. Complicating matters, Flying Claw, the Lands' young Tiger, is at the nexus of a romantic triangle, pursued by both Honey Dream, the beautiful but unpredictable Snake, and Brenda Morris, the Rat's heir - a young woman who despite her "in waiting" status seems to have some of the Rat's powers.An attack that severely injures several of the Thirteen Orphans and their allies provides a harsh reminder that the Nine Gates must be opened as quickly as possible, before the civil war casting the Lands into turmoil claims Earth as a new battleground. This requires cooperation not only between the Orphans and their uneasy allies but from the enigmatic and powerful rulers of the Guardian Domains.Making matters worse, the indigenous magical traditions of Earth will not stand idly by and let the Orphans work unimpeded. Rivalry, theft, and blackmail become the order of the day. Worse, one of the Orphans or their new compatriots may be secretly working with these Earthly enemies.The Thirteen Orphans and their new allies face unexpected challenges as they strive to open the Nine Gates, little knowing that success will drop them into a battle where not only their lives but their sanity itself will be at risk.
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- Hardback | 399 pages
- 152.4 x 231.14 x 35.56mm | 635.03g
- 18 Aug 2009
- Tor Books
- United States
- black & white line drawings