The Citadel of Weeping Pearls

Available now as a standalone book, The Citadel of Weeping Pearls: a new Xuya book set in the same universe as the acclaimed On a Red Station, Drifting.

The Citadel of Weeping Pearls was a great wonder; a perfect meld between cutting edge technology and esoteric sciences—its inhabitants capable of teleporting themselves anywhere, its weapons small and undetectable and deadly.

Thirty years ago, threatened by an invading fleet from the Dai Viet Empire, the Citadel disappeared and was never seen again.

But now the Dai Viet Empire itself is under siege, on the verge of a war against an enemy that turns their own mindships against them; and the Empress, who once gave the order to raze the Citadel, is in desperate needs of its weapons. Meanwhile, on a small isolated space station, an engineer obsessed with the past works on a machine that will send her thirty years back, to the height of the Citadel’s power.

But the Citadel’s disappearance still extends chains of grief and regrets all the way into the fraught atmosphere of the Imperial Court; and this casual summoning of the past might have world-shattering consequences…

A new book set in the award-winning, critically acclaimed Xuya universe.

Finalist for a 2015 Locus Award, Best Novella

Cover design and layout by Maurizio Manzieri.

(Very) loosely inspired by the tale of Chử Đồng-Tử and Princess Tiên Dung, aka “the one-night lake”. And about 34k words, for the curious; so genuinely more of a short novel, a similar length to On a Red Station, Drifting. Also featuring the reappearance of Linh from On a Red Station, Drifting.

(originally published in Asimov’s, Oct/Nov 2015 issue).

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Excerpt:

There was a sound, on the edge of sleep: Suu Nuoc wasn’t sure if it was a bell and a drum calling for enlightenment; or the tactics-master sounding the call to arms; in that breathless instant—hanging like a bead of blood from a sword’s blade—that marked the boundary between the stylised life of the court and the confused, lawless fury of the battlefield./p>

“Book of Heaven, Book of Heaven.”

The soft , reedy voice echoed under the dome of the ceiling; but the room itself had changed—receding, taking on the shape of the mindship—curved metal corridors with scrolling columns of memorial excerpts, the oily sheen of the Mind’s presence spread over the watercolours of starscapes and the carved longevity character at the head of the bed—for a confused, terrible moment as Suu Nuoc woke up, he wasn’t sure if he was still in his bedroom in the Purple Forbidden City on the First Planet, or hanging, weightless, in the void of space.

It wasn’t a dream. It was the mindship: the Turtle’s Golden Claw, the only one addressing Suu Nuoc with that peculiar form of his title, the one that the Empress had conferred on him half out of awe, half out of jest.