The Nine-Fold Heaven
In the novel Skeleton Women, Camilla was adopted, raised and trained to spy for Big Brother Wang of the Red Demons Gang on Master Lung, leader of the Flying Dragons Gang, in 1920s Shanghai. Camilla’s entire focus in life has been to kill Master Lung. Camilla, the famed Heavenly Songbird, had had an affair with Master Lung’s son, Jinying, and given birth to their son, Jinjin or “Handsome Handsome.” That plot ended in a bloody gang war shoot-out. Camilla then escaped to Hong Kong with stolen riches but no idea of who is alive or dead after that brutal, bloody conflict.
Now, in this sequel, she is desperate to know what happened to the gang leaders, her beloved, and her baby son in Shanghai. Her deeper desire, however, is to find her own identity outside of being a “skeleton woman” who is dependent on every male who crosses her path. Thus redemption, through the rescue of a former lover, Shadow, assistance to spy Rainbow Chang, and discovery of her son and another special blind girl, progresses while her own life is in constant jeopardy amid opposing characters whose ultimate passion is wealth and revenge. In multiple scenes Camilla ponders her place in a land that no longer reveres Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity or any other spirituality, yet Camilla’s insertion of constant quotes from these sources belies her insistence that Shanghai is now a spirit-less land. Camilla indeed is the exemplar of a society rooted in familial loyalty and love. Absolutely delightful historical fiction!