Rescued from kidnappers, Wang Lee found himself with a strange secret group. They were the God-worshiping Society, Mei Lin told him, dedicated to overthrowing the hated Manchu emperor of China. Wang Lee must join the rebels and learn to be a soldier-and to kill.
Singing and marching, the crusaders fought the foreign devils in villages and cities, on mountains and rivers. For Wang Lee, a peasant boy, it was a time of agonizing questions that neither his companion, Chu, nor his philosopher friend, Shen could answer. For Mei Lin, her teacher San-niang, and hundreds of other women with unbound feet, it was a time to show their strength. And for all of the charcoal bearers, farmers, miners, and misfits transformed into a noble army, it was a time to establish a new age-the Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace.
Could their dream come true? Could their kings rule in harmony? And could Wang Lee and Mei Lin at last be free to express forbidden feelings?