Description
In China they whisper about the Jade Owl and its awful power. This ancient stone, commissioned by the Empress Wu and crafted by a mineral charmer, long haunted the folk of the Middle Kingdom until it vanished into an enigma of legend and lore. Now the Jade Owl is found. It wakes to steal the day from day. Its power to enchant and distort rises again. Its horror is revealed to a band of five, who must return it to the Valley of the Dead before the laws of ch’i are set aside in favor of destruction’s dance. Five China Hands, each drawn through time’s thin fabric by the bird, discover enchantment on the secret garland. Five China Hands, and one holds the key to the world’s fate. Five China Hands. Only one Jade Owl - but it’s awake and in China, they whisper again.

Professor Rowden Gray has come to San Francisco following a new opportunity at the East Asian Arts and Culture Museum, only to find that the opportunity has evaporated. Desperate, he means to end his career in a muddle of pity and Scotch, but then things happen. He latches on to a fascinating young man who is pursuing a lost relic that Professor Gray has in fact been seeking. Be careful for what you seek - you may just find it. Thus begins a journey that takes the professor and his companions on a spirited adventure across three-thousand miles of Chinese culture and mystery - a quest to fulfill a warrant long set out to ignite the world in myth and legend. The Jade Owl is the beginning of a series - a legacy that fulfills a terrible truth; and in China, they whisper again.




Praise and Reviews
Review from Rainbow Reviews

Sinologist Professor Rowden Gray receives the opportunity of his professional lifetime, a curator position at the fabled San Francisco East Asian Museum of East Asian Arts and Culture, which houses the collection of his late mentor, "Old China Hand" John Battle. Battle's great work had been discredited due to his insistence on the Jade Owl, a mysterious missing artifact commissioned by China's only Empress. When RG arrives, he immediately discovers the position has been rescinded, he encounters a strange young man who proves to be Battle's prodigal son, and learns the Jade Owl really exists. Plunging into a drama worthy of an Errol Flynn swashbuckler, the soon-boon companions and several others are off on a life-and-death chase through San Francisco and then on to Hong Kong as the portal into China.

The Jade Owl is a nonstop, don't miss page turner and only the first in a quintology, The Jade Owl Legacy series. Readers, run, do not walk to your nearest book outlet and grab this intriguing gay mystery with its fully realized characters, gay and straight and bi, roller-coaster plotting, and paranormal fantasy elements. The Jade Owl is a true winner.

Review from Aricia Gavrial's Book Reviews:

In this novel, the artifact is an ancient Chinese object, a six inch piece of Jade carved in the likeness of an owl -- and it's actually a key that opens a box known as the Joy of Finches. What's in the box? That would be telling! But everybody wants the key.

The first thing that impressed me about Jade Owl was how knowledgeable about Chinese antiquities the writer is, and about China itself. Shanghai and Beijing are described with the same amount of detail and enthusiasm as San Francisco -- and never having been to either China or the USA myself, I really appreciated the "local color." Many writers, when setting their plots in London, New York, what have you, seem to think that everyone's been there and knows intimately every secret of the city. Not true. So, the first level where Jade Owl succeeds is in "selling me" San Francisco, which is the setting for the first long segment of the book.

Jade Owl is a real treat, on a par with the top-notch writers who sell in the gajillions. The Jade Owl is an extremely good read.

Review from author Victor Banis

This is a helluva good yarn, the sort of read we're all hoping for every time we pick up a book, and all too rarely find.

Rowden Gray comes to San Francisco to accept, he thinks, a curatorship at the Museum of East Asian Arts and Culture, only to find when he gets there that the position has evaporated. Instead, he runs into (literally) a fey young man who leads him on a series of adventures involving an ancient relic, the jade owl, taking them at a rapidly accelerating pace from the city's gay bars to Yosemite, to Hong Kong and finally to mainland China. An odyssey that proves to be, in fact, a quest not unlike the Lord of the Rings. If that kind of adventure is your cup of tea, you are certain to savor this one.

I couldn't begin here to detail all the turns and twists of the plot, and why should I? The beginning is a trifle slow, but once you get going, you'll have all you can do to keep up with them yourself. Suffice to say the bird in question is possessed of magic (and not altogether happy) powers and is cursed, and must be returned to the tomb of the Empress Wu Tze-t'ien if major catastrophe is to be averted. "It brings the comets back to earth," to put it succinctly.

The cast of characters is extensive, too: Rowden, of course, and that handsome and gay youngster, Nick Battle, and his drag queen other half, Simone aka Simon, and a one-eyed Cherokee and Chinatown gangsters and...well, plenty of others, and surprisingly the author manages to keep them all well sorted out, without reducing any of them to caricatures or, worse, mere shadows. Indeed, even the most minor of these many people is well drawn and believable.

Locations are vivid, too--if you've ever been to San Francisco, this will take you there again in a twinkling, and whether you've been or not you'll feel like you, too, have made that arduous journey with The China Hands across The People's Republic.

This is a remarkable accomplishment. I finished The Jade Owl with a happy smile and closed it with a sigh of great satisfaction. I recommend the book heartily. You may never read another adventure tale this good. Honest, possums.

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Edward Patterson
Edward C. Patterson has been writing novels, short fiction, poetry and drama his entire life, always seeking the emotional core of any story he tells. With his eighth novel, The Ja More...