The Library of Legends
Available Spring 2020
Canada April 28 USA May 12
Pre-order now from links to the left
“Myths are the darkest and brightest incarnations of who we are . . .”
C hina, 1937. When Japanese bombs begin falling on the city of Nanking, nineteen-year-old Hu Lian and her classmates at Minghua University are ordered to flee. Lian and a convoy of students, faculty and staff must walk 1,000 miles to the safety of China’s western provinces, a journey marred by the constant threat of aerial attack. And it is not just the refugees who are at risk; Lian and her classmates have been entrusted with a priceless treasure: a 500-year-old collection of myths and folklore known as the Library of Legends.
Her family’s past has made Lian wary of forming attachments, but the students’ common duty to safeguard the Library of Legends forms unexpected bonds. Lian finds friendship and a cautious romance with the handsome and wealthy Liu Shaoming. But after one classmate is murdered and another arrested, Lian realizes she must escape from the convoy before a family secret puts her in danger. Accompanied by Shao and the enigmatic maidservant Sparrow, Lian makes her way to Shanghai, hoping to reunite with her mother.
During the journey, Lian learns of the connection between her two companions and a tale from the Library of Legends, The Willow Star and the Prince. This revelation comes with profound consequences, for as the ancient books travel across China, they awaken immortals and guardian spirits who embark on an exodus of their own, one that will change the country’s fate forever.
Based on true events, rich in Chinese history and lore, The Library of Legends is both an illuminating exploration of China’s recent past and an evocative tale of love, sacrifice, and the extraordinary power of storytelling.
What Readers are Saying
"The Library of Legends is a beautifully written story of a pivotal period in the making of modern China: when the invading Japanese, the Nationalist, and Communist parties all vied for supremacy. Amidst this, the Chinese determination to preserve their culture was heroic and saved precious historical treasures at great sacrifice. Interwoven with the historical characters are ancient mythological ones in a blend of wonder, courage, and suspense. Luminous and enthralling."
- Margaret George, New York Times bestselling author of The Splendor Before the Dark, The Confessions of Young Nero, Elizabeth I, and The Autobiography of Henry VIII.
“The Library of Legends is a gorgeous, poetic journey threaded with mist and magic about a group from a Chinese university who take to the road to escape the Japanese invasion of 1937 – only to discover that danger stalks them from within. Janie Chang pens pure enchantment!”
- Kate Quinn, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Alice Network and The Huntress
"Janie Chang's The Library of Legends delivers stark historical truths on the tail of a shooting star. Absolutely enchanting."
- Ana Johns, bestselling author of The Woman in the White Kimono
“Janie Chang has done it again with this story of an exodus of young students -- treasured as China’s future -- intermingled with an imaginary, unconventional departure of mystical beasts and legendary deities during a war that changes China forever. Evocative, unforgettable, The Library of Legends is truly out of this world!”
- Weina Dai Randel, award-winning author of The Moon in the Palace