NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In a fallen kingdom, one girl carries the key to discovering the secrets of her nation's past—and unleashing the demons that sleep at its heart. An epic fantasy series inspired by the mythology and folklore of ancient China.

"Perfect for fans of The Untamed. I loved it!” —Shelley Parker-Chan, bestselling author of She Who Became the Sun


Once, Lan had a different name. Now she goes by the one the Elantian colonizers gave her when they invaded her kingdom, killed her mother, and outlawed her people’s magic. She spends her nights as a songgirl in Haak’gong, a city transformed by the conquerors, and her days scavenging for what she can find of the past. Anything to understand the strange mark burned into her arm by her mother in her last act before she died.

The mark is mysterious—an untranslatable Hin character—and no one but Lan can see it. Until the night a boy appears at her teahouse and saves her life.

Zen is a practitioner—one of the fabled magicians of the Last Kingdom. Their magic was rumored to have been drawn from the demons they communed with. Magic believed to be long lost. Now it must be hidden from the Elantians at all costs.

When Zen comes across Lan, he recognizes what she is: a practitioner with a powerful ability hidden in the mark on her arm. He’s never seen anything like it—but he knows that if there are answers, they lie deep in the pine forests and misty mountains of the Last Kingdom, with an order of practitioning masters planning to overthrow the Elantian regime.

Both Lan and Zen have secrets buried deep within—secrets they must hide from others, and secrets that they themselves have yet to discover. Fate has connected them, but their destiny remains unwritten. Both hold the power to liberate their land. And both hold the power to destroy the world. 

Now the battle for the Last Kingdom begins.
“Devastatingly gorgeous.” —Chloe Gong, #1 New York Times bestselling author of These Violent Delights

The perfect book for fans of the Chinese xianxia fantasy genre.” —The Nerd Daily

A rich fantasy world of high stakes and adventure.”—BuzzFeed

“A lush, magical tale.” —Paste

★ “Lush worldbuilding and gorgeous visuals." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"A complex and fantastic introduction to an epic new world." —Kirkus Reviews

“A thrilling and wonderful first start into the many possibilities of the myths and legends of ancient China.”—Asia Pacific Arts

“An epic, masterfully rendered tale of reckoning and heritage that draws its readers into a world as rich as it is nuanced, and as intriguing as it is magical.” —Ayana Gray, New York Times bestselling author of Beasts of Prey

“Prepare to stay up all night!” —Sara Raasch, New York Times bestselling author of the Snow Like Ashes series

“Gorgeous, evocative, and thrilling. I absolutely loved it.” — Katherine Webber, author of Twin Crowns
 
“Brims with pure magic. Zhao has woven together a story of self-discovery, slow-burning romance, and heart-pounding revelations.” —Rebecca Ross, internationally bestselling author of A River Enchanted
 
“A captivating epic fantasy... I can’t wait for the sequel!”— Sue Lynn Tan, bestselling author of Daughter of the Moon Goddess

”A haunting tale steeped in myth and legend. This is a story that will captivate and spellbind readers until the very end.”—Francesca Flores, author of Diamond City

“A magical tale set in a glittering, dangerous world featuring a dynamic heroine and an enigmatic hero.” —Isabel Ibañez, author of Together We Burn