Author of The Land of the Great Image (Knopf) reveals again research into little known history of the Far East and presents --in drama form this time -- the story of the Empress Dowager Tsu Hsi, who -- during her lifetime 1835 -- 1908, was the most powerful individual in China. Arch adventures, consummate realist and opportunist, Tsu Hsi rose from concubine to empress, passed off a child as her own, poisoned the Emperor and gained the regency for her supposed son and heir, Tung Chi. When he went against her will in the matter of a wife, she disposed of him, and placed a nephew on the throne, and continued to control the Empire. Again she was opposed -- this time in regard to reforms greatly needed and advocated by her nephew; again she defeated him and again retained the power. A play designed to be read, rather than acted.