A story of ancient China, of the Emperor Ming Huang, enlightened, benevolent a patron of the arts, and of his love for Yang Kuel-fel which almost brought disaster to the realm. The book is background rather than plot, Frank Owen has done a rich, not to say florid, bit of period painting, to which China's Golden Age is adapted. The Emperor makes his son's concubine the one paramount consideration, neglecting the interests of his kingdom. He yields everything to her whims, even to giving high military power to a Tartar soldier who exercises a crude fascination over her. At the close, Yang Kuel-fel sacrifices herself for her Emperor. A little lush -- but it seems authentic both in fact and feel.