Strike the Zither (Kingdom of Three #1) (Hardcover)
November/December 2022 Kids Indie Next List
“I was totally enthralled with Strike the Zither! It’s exciting and intriguing, full of fierce women who display their own brand of strength and intelligence. The twists and reveals made me gasp out loud. I can’t wait for the next volume!”
— Ann Branson, Beach Books, Seaside, OR
A dazzling new fantasy from New York Times and Indie bestselling author Joan He, Strike the Zither is a powerful, inventive, and sweeping fantasy that reimagines the Chinese classic tale of the Three Kingdoms.
The year is 414 of the Xin Dynasty, and chaos abounds. A puppet empress is on the throne. The realm has fractured into three factions and three warlordesses hoping to claim the continent for themselves.
But Zephyr knows it’s no contest.
Orphaned at a young age, Zephyr took control of her fate by becoming the best strategist of the land and serving under Xin Ren, a warlordess whose loyalty to the empress is double-edged—while Ren’s honor draws Zephyr to her cause, it also jeopardizes their survival in a war where one must betray or be betrayed. When Zephyr is forced to infiltrate an enemy camp to keep Ren’s followers from being slaughtered, she encounters the enigmatic Crow, an opposing strategist who is finally her match. But there are more enemies than one—and not all of them are human.
About the Author
Joan He was born and raised in Philadelphia but still, on occasion, loses her way. At a young age, she received classical instruction in oil painting before discovering that stories were her favorite kind of art. She studied psychology and Chinese history at the University of Pennsylvania, and now splits her time between Philly and Chicago. She is the New York Times-bestselling author of The Ones We're Meant to Find and Descendant of the Crane, her young adult debut novel.
"Military stratagems, qi-infused zither duets, and divine interference come together in this tightly crafted reimagining of the Chinese classic Three Kingdoms. . . A riveting series opener." Kirkus, starred review
"The protagonist’s clever narration and boundless ambition, coupled with He’s powerful, action-packed prose, quick pacing, anticipatory atmosphere, and immersive worldbuilding, exemplify the origins of the source material while developing a distinct and evocative adventure." Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A fierce reimagining of the Chinese classic... This riveting read is full of twists and surprises that shock and delight, building up to the epic conclusion that left me gasping." - Judy I. Lin, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Book of Tea duology"
"Joan He takes no prisoners, and STRIKE THE ZITHER is her latest triumph. An intricate, expansive epic...this book is as ambitious as its scheming, ruthless cast—and just like its narrator, delivers above and beyond." - Margaret Owen, author of The Merciful Crow series and Little Thieves
"Filled with twists and turns, STRIKE THE ZITHER is a meticulously plotted, supremely satisfying story that explores identity, legacy, and loyalty in unexpected ways. This is Joan He’s best yet." - Hannah Whitten, New York Times-bestselling author of FOR THE WOLF
“Strike the Zither reimagines the Chinese classic Romance of the Three Kingdoms in a way never seen before, with intense twists and turns that pay homage to its inspiration while being refreshingly different. A brilliant exploration of destiny and identity!” - Xiran Jay Zhao, New York Times-bestselling author of Iron Widow
"Strike the Zither is a page-turner, full of unexpected twists, with an expansive, intricate world of sisterhood and subterfuge. He’s smooth, economical style is the perfect vehicle for this gripping political fantasy, marrying cat-and-mouse intrigue with a tenderness and emotional depth that heightens the stakes of every new reveal. A standout work from a remarkable author." - Olivie Blake, author of The Atlas Six
"Rich with intrigue and epic in scale. Strike the Zither grows tall on the heroic classics it draws from, yet beats powerfully with a heart of its own." - Chloe Gong, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of the These Violet Delights Duet
"Richly layered and highly creative, STRIKE THE ZITHER offers a world brimming with war, love, and unforgettable characters. A truly magnificent book." - June Hur, bestselling author of The Red Palace
"In this tautly plotted, vividly reimagined tale of a beloved Chinese classic, He orchestrates an epic page-turner... STRIKE THE ZITHER will keep you guessing—and gasping for more." - June CL Tan, internationally bestselling author of Jade Fire Gold
"This soaring, masterful retelling becomes an epic all of its own... Readers will get lost in this rich, gorgeous, and dangerous world." Emily Suvada, author of This Mortal Coil
"A twisty, body-snatching, gender-flipped retelling of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Prepare to be transported." Rebecca Lim, award-winning author of Tiger Daughter