Strike The Zither

Joan He

Strike The Zither
Text Publishing
United Kingdom
1 November 2022

Strike The Zither

Joan He

A compelling epic fantasy, a female-focused reimagining of a Chinese classic, Strike the Zither is the first book in a duology by Joan He, New York Times-bestselling author of The Ones We’re Meant to Find.

The year is 414 of the Xin Dynasty and chaos abounds. A puppet empress is on the throne. The realm has fractured and three warlordesses each hope to claim the continent for herself. But Zephyr knows it’s no contest. Orphaned at a young age, Zephyr took control of her fate by becoming the best strategist in the land. Now she serves under the most honourable lordesss, the last one still loyal to the empress. But honour is double-edged in a war where one must betray or be betrayed, and it’s up to Zephyr to infiltrate a rival camp when their survival hinges on it. There is more than one enemy, however-and not all of them are human. Can Zephyr finally overcome her fate as written by the gods?

Strike the Zither is a brilliant, action-packed YA/crossover fantasy about found family, rivals and identity, in which Joan He reimagines Three Kingdoms, a classic from Chinese literature, with new female agency.


Written as a feminist reimagining of the Chinese military epic Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Strike the Zither follows military strategist Zephyr, who must use her cunning and resourcefulness to bring her leader to victory against the Northern and Southern kingdoms. The Xin dynasty is crumbling from within; the empress plays puppet to her court counsellors, and the realm has divided into three kingdoms led by three ‘warlordesses’. Ren, the warlordess Zephyr serves, is the only one who remains loyal to the empress, while the other two leaders seek to claim the continent for themselves. When Zephyr is tasked to infiltrate an enemy camp, she meets the enchanting Crow, an opposing strategist, and begins to learn that there is no such thing as friends or allies in a world like theirs. In this game of mortals and gods, politics and magic, Zephyr must overcome her fate and seize control for the survival of the realm ... or for its demise.

Calculating, quick-witted and fearless, Zephyr’s voice is unique. Throughout the novel, she acts for the good of the realm, no matter what lines of morality she may have to cross. However, the sacrifices she is willing to make for the survival of others also severs her from the relationships she’s made, driving her further and further away from those she cares about.

Zephyr has a deep love for her country and the warlordess whom she serves, but when everyone starts to see you as merciless, even villainous, how long will it be until those opinions becomes fact? For Zephyr, duty comes before everything – before friends and family, before love – but what happens when you stop serving others and start serving only yourself ? Zephyr is a fierce woman you would not dare to forget. For ages 13+.

Aurelia Orr is from Readings Kids

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