The companion novel to Saints, this book looks at the same situation from a different angle. Little Bao has grown up reenacting his favorite Chinese operas and looking up to his father. When his father is hobbled by European colonists, Bao's older brothers take over the family, relegating Bao to the role of little brother. In secret he trains with a martial arts master, and quickly out paces his brothers. When colonists threaten his small village, Bao harnesses the power of an ancient Chinese emperor to fight against them.
Sharing the secret of his martial arts training, Bao gathers and army of Boxers (including his brothers) to use the power of the Chinese gods to drive the colonists and "foreign devils" from China. As the Boxers travel to the capitol city to convince the Empress to free their country, they meet several challenges along the way testing their faith and fortitude. By the end of the book, Bao and Vibianain's stories cross paths to end in tragedy.
Longer than Saints, this book feels fuller and richer than it's companion novel. Bao's character is well rounded, as we watch him grow from a helpless boy into a man teetering on the edge of self-doubt. The drawing style is simple and compelling, with a careful use of color (especially for the Chinese gods) to draw the reader's eye. An interesting look at a conflict often overlooked by American schools.