Daughter of Xanadu by Dori Jones Yang

By Dori Jones Yang

Athletic and robust willed, Princess Emmajin's made up our minds to do what no lady has performed earlier than: develop into a warrior within the military of her grandfather, the nice Khan Khubilai. within the Mongol international the one approach to in attaining appreciate is to teach bravery and win glory at the battlefield. the very last thing she desires is the distraction of the foreigner Marco Polo, who demanding situations her ideals within the gardens of Xanadu. Marco has no abilities within the "manly arts" of the Mongols: horse racing, archery, and wrestling. nonetheless, he charms the Khan along with his wit and story-telling. Emmajin sees a special Marco as they trip throughout 13th-century China, looking 'dragons' and scuffling with elephant-back warriors. Now she faces a unique conflict as she struggles along with her charm in the direction of Marco and her magnificent aim of profitable reputation as a soldier.

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The sun had lowered to just above the palace walls by the time of the next-to-last contest, for fourteen- and fifteen-year-old Mongols from outside the palace. I recognized several of my former suitors and was glad they would see me compete. Jebe’s arrows flew disastrously off course, and he placed last among ten contenders. Finally, the time came for the last tournament, for the eldest of the grandchildren: Suren, Temur, and me. It would be our last contest as children, since I would be sixteen the next day and Suren would turn sixteen within a month.

My head was bowed, but I heard comments from people around me. “She lost on purpose,” one man said. “To make them look good,” another added. But I had not lost on purpose. My hand had slipped, for no good reason. I meant to win. I always competed to win. “How fine of her,” someone said. ” I was not used to hearing people talk about Suren that way. No one dared talk openly about who might lead in our generation. But now I realized that others, besides me, understood the deeper implications of the younger brother’s very public victory.

I felt the tromp of their horses’ hooves vibrating in my body, and I smelled the grit and the sweat in the wind. These brave soldiers had broken the long siege of a large city in the South, finally conquering it. This victory opened the way for our armies to march toward Kinsay, the capital of southern China. Many battles lay ahead, but now it seemed inevitable that the great Mongol army would eventually control all of China. No one could stop us now. This general, the famous Bayan, was returning to his Emperor, the Great Khan Khubilai, to get his reward for breaking the siege and winning this historic victory.

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