Out on 10 October 2024

A Song to Drown Rivers

Ann Liang

10 October 2024
336 pages


‘Exquisite and devastating. It won’t fail to move you’ ­– Shelley Parker-Chan, author of She Who Became the Sun

Inspired by the legend of Xishi, one of the famous Four Beauties of Ancient China, A Song to Drown Rivers is an epic historical fantasy about womanhood, war, sacrifice and love against all odds as the fate of two kingdoms hangs in a delicate balance.

Her beauty hides a deadly purpose.

Xishi’s beauty is seen as a blessing to the villagers of Yue – convinced that the best fate for a girl is to marry well and support her family. When Xishi draws the attention of the famous young military advisor Fanli, he presents her with a rare opportunity: to use her beauty as a weapon. One that could topple the rival neighbouring kingdom of Wu, improve the lives of her people, and avenge her sister’s murder. All she has to do is infiltrate the enemy palace as a spy, seduce their immoral king, and weaken them from within.

Trained by Fanli in everything from classical instruments to concealing emotion, Xishi hones her beauty into the perfect blade. But she knows Fanli can see through every deception she masters, the attraction between them burning away any falsehoods.

Once inside the enemy palace, Xishi finds herself under the hungry gaze of the king’s advisors, while the king himself shows her great affection. Despite his gentleness, a brutality lurks; she knows she can never let her guard down. But the higher Xishi climbs in the Wu court, the further she and Fanli have to fall – and if she is unmasked as a traitor, she will bring both kingdoms down.

‘Stunning and heart-rending’ – Chloe Gong, author of Immortal Longings

Liang has given us a new classic that achingly captures the will of kings, the intelligence of women and the heartbreak of war. Exquisite and devastating. It won’t fail to move you
A stunning, heart-rending feat of a story. A Song to Drown Rivers retells ancient legend with phenomenal voice
Exquisite, riveting, heart-wrenching. Prepare to be swept away by the beautiful writing, forbidden love and complex characters