“[Victoria] Cass brings China’s mythic landscape to life. These stories draw the reader into a dimension that hovers over a magical landscape where ordinary mortals confront extraordinary powers. This is a journey into the psyche of eternal China.”—Christine Mathieu, co-author of Leaving Mother Lake: A Girlhood at the Edge of the World
China is a land that has fascinated the world for centuries. Take a journey in this book back to a China that is both stunning and mysterious, back to the places where tales of magic were born. Victoria Cass retells both popular and little-known stories of emperors and empresses, ghosts, spirits, warriors, maidens, and magical realms amid landscapes potent with history.
The stories are arranged by geography, providing an unprecedented look into how folklore and culture were shaped by China’s natural surroundings. Cass shows us where mortals, demons, and gods have for centuries belonged, taking the reader on a “grand tour” of China. This is a book that will capture the imagination of a new generation of readers.
In the Realm of the Gods also goes where no other book on Chinese folk traditions has gone before by featuring stunning photography from some of China’s most critically acclaimed landscape photographers. Their studies of abandoned villas, vertiginous cliffs, nighttime pathways, serene canals, and temples at dusk provide a rich visual complement to the stories.
By presenting the stories and photographs together, Cass has assembled a perfect synthesis of words and images while showing how the physical and cultural geography of China is at the root of its most popular legends and its tales of the natural and supernatural. This book represents a stunning achievement in storytelling.
Victoria Cass is the author of Dangerous Women: Warriors, Grannies, and Geishas of the Ming.