Twisted Edges appraisal


This is an interesting manuscript. A historical novel set in fourteenth century China (during the Ming dynasty), Twisted Edges is a densely plotted tale of treachery and conflict, built around the story of two brothers and their rival bids for the throne of their father, the emperor.

The setting is China in the early part of the Ming dynasty. The reigning emperor is Zyrius, a strong and warlike man and a tyrannical ruler. The story opens with the births of his two sons, Chuing and Gen-lee.[1] Chuing grows to be like his father, arrogant, aggressive and callous. Gen-lee, by contrast, is gentle, honest and kind, beloved by his mother and everyone who knows him – except his father and brother, who disdain him as a weakling. Both are wrong, as he conceals an iron strength beneath his gentle nature.


The first part of the story is focused on with Gen-lee. The rivalry between the two boys as they are growing up, and culminates lee’s temporary exile. Having gone missing, and presumed to be dead, he returns to the palace in disguise (a recurring theme throughout the story) and attempts to nurse the dying emperor, his father. This brings us to the central pivot of the novel, wherein the dying Zyrius repents his past treatment of Gen-lee. But it is too late. Realising that Gen-lee’s medical skills are working, and impatient for the throne, Chuing cunningly slips poison in the medicine, then exposes Gen-lee’s identity, accusing him of murdering the emperor. Thus Chuing becomes emperor while Gen-lee is thrown in prison.


This brings us to the conclusion of the first half of the story. It’s a very strong build-up, filled with incident and character development. Holding it together is the binary moral opposition of the two brothers, while hovering in the background and lending an air of uncertainty is the woman known as Flying-wing, the midwife who delivered the two brothers, who has a reputation as a sorceress. It was she who marked Gen-lee out as a weakling, and used her influence to make Chuing the favourite. But, like Zyrius, she comes to regret her actions. Thus begins the second half of the novel, in which Gen-lee makes his long journey back from jeopardy.


In prison he meets and falls in love with Mai-ling, a young woman imprisoned for rebelling against Chuing, who wanted her as a wife. The couple are helped to escape by Flying-wing, and they flee into exile, where they get married. The centrepiece of the second act is Gen-lee’s return to the palace in disguise (echoing his earlier venture). He succeeds in deposing Chuing, who then begins plotting against his brother. The story reaches a climax in which Chuing is set to seize back the throne, but is finally thwarted and sent into permanent exile. It’s a satisfying ending, in keeping with the moral thrust of the plot.


The style of narration is close to the style found in folklore and in ancient non-poetic saga and epic. The plot is a thriller-like adventure, which results in a near-breathless pace.


That isn’t the only benefit. Twisted Edges has a remarkable fluidity that is frequently almost poetic, and is a delight to read. Interestingly, for those who are aware enough to sense it, the very style itself (which most readers will have at least a passing familiarity with from old fairy tales and the ‘bumpers’ included in some historical movies) lends the novel a sense of period and place.


In conclusion, Twisted Edges is an original and very interesting work of fiction. There is a charming purity to it, and to its characters and moral freight, which is very engaging. Readers will find it fresh, intriguing and entertaining. I recommend it.




As you can see from the Reader’s Report, we found Twisted Edges to be a work of considerable merit that has many things in its favour, not least the writing style and sophisticated plotting and characterisation.  Any resulting publication would have a potential target readership amongst a wide audience. For all of these reasons I would be delighted to make an offer of publication for Twisted Edges as a most worthy book would result, which will generate a great deal of interest.


Further information on our full range of titles and our upcoming books can be found on our website at

With best wishes

Yours sincerely

Mrs Jill de Laat

Head of Publishing

[1] As far as I am aware, all the characters here are fictional, as is the plot.

Twisted Edges This is a review. Read Twisted Edges By Jennifer King This book is superb! I could not put it down the characters are engaging. The story line is powerful. “ the fight for the throne,The Wives who get their revenge” The bloody struggle, the powerful herbalist, the rejection,The remorse, The forgiveness, The Love and the hate. This Thriller resulting in a near breathless pace which had me bound to this book right to the end. Found on Pinterest.

twisted edges - CUSTOM BOOK Publications - AUTHOR-WEB


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