The Conspiracies of the Empire
by Qiu Xiaolong

The legendary Judge Dee Renji returns, in this lyrical combination of mystery, history and ancient Chinese politics from the author of the renowned Inspector Chen mysteries

In Tang dynasty China, Empress Wu – seductive, ambitious and vindictive – rules with an iron fist. Her premier minister, Judge Dee Renji, is honored to be trusted by her. But when she orders him to carry out an urgent investigation into the disappearance of disgraced poet Luo Binwang, he can’t see why the matter is of such vital importance.

Luo Binwang joined a doomed uprising against Her Majesty, and vanished after the final, bloody battle. Is he missing – or dead? Either way, now that the rebellion has been mercilessly quashed, what harm could a poor, elderly poet do?

Traveling out of the great capital of Chang’an, accompanied by his loyal manservant Yang, Judge Dee launches a painstaking investigation, in the hopes of achieving what the empress’ secret police could not. But the journey is marred by ill omens, and with death and disaster following his every step, Judge Dee soon begins to wonder if the empress trusts him as much as he thought . . .

This powerful mystery, set in ancient China, will appeal to fans of Robert Van Gulik’s novels featuring the semi-fictional historical character Judge Dee, and includes an appendix of poems from some of China’s finest Tang dynasty poets, newly translated by the author, who is an award-wining poet and critic in his own right.


“Qiu combines a sophisticated puzzle with appropriate period detail, avoiding the anachronisms of previous Judge Dee fiction. Fans of those books, by Robert van Gulik and others, will clamor for more”

Publishers Weekly Starred Review of The Shadow of the Empire

“Qiu writes in a lyrical style . . . Poems become clues, even evidence, in the far-from-cursory probe he conducts”

Wall Street Journal on The Shadow of the Empire

“An elaborate and satisfying souffle of mystery, history, and poetry”

Kirkus Reviews on The Shadow of the Empire

“Qiu’s rendition [of Judge Dee] is just as approachable and good-natured as his contemporary murder mysteries”

The Asian Review of Books on The Shadow of the Empire

“Judge Dee and Yang are an endearing duo for this delightful series”

The Historical Novels Review on The Shadow of the Empire

“While series fans will be delighted at the background Qiu provides, this is an accessible starting point for newcomers ... in his superior 11th novel featuring Shanghai policeman and poet Chen Cao”

Publishers Weekly Starred Review of Becoming Inspector Chen

“Qiu’s stylish hybrid is half fictional literary memoir and half crisp whodunit”

Kirkus Reviews on Becoming Inspector Chen

“The latest Chen is both a scathing indictment of contemporary China and an explanation of how poet Chen came to be Chief Inspector Chen. Gripping”

Booklist on Becoming Inspector Chen

“Fans of mysteries about honest cops working for compromised regimes won’t want to miss this one”

Library Journal Starred Review of Hold Your Breath, China


Publishers Weekly on Hold Your Breath, China

Qiu Xiaolong

Anthony Award winning author Qiu Xiaolong was born in Shanghai and moved to Washington University in St Louis, US, to complete a PhD degree in comparative literature. After the Tiananmen tragedy in 1989 he stayed on in St Louis where he still lives with his wife. Qiu’s sold over two million copies of his Inspector Chen mysteries worldwide and been published in twenty languages. On top of his fiction, he is a prize-winning writer of poetry.All the titles in the Inspector Chen series, including Hold Your Breath, China, have been dramatized in BBC Radio 4 productions.

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The Conspiracies of the Empire by Qiu Xiaolong is available in the following formats

Hardback97814483130825th November 2024147 X 222mm192$29.99
Hardback97814483130825th November 2024147 X 222mm192£21.99
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