In the last years of the Tang Dynasty, a beautiful girl is born in a fort along the Great Wall of China, and is set to become the most famous and celebrated courtesan of her age. Set in the 9th century, Passing Under Heaven tells the tragic love story of Lily, a Chinese poet and documents a time when Chinese women enjoyed a window of unprecedented personal freedom - including the freedom to fall in love. But when Lily pushes that freedom to its limits disaster ensues, leaving her child and husband to forever mourn her loss. Based on historical fact, Passing Under Heaven is more than the story of the end of a love affair, this book also chronicles the passing of the Chinese golden age into civil war and ruin.
Justin Hill lived and taught in China for four years. He turned his experiences there into The Drink and Dream Tea House and A Bend in the Yellow River. He has just won the Somerset Maugham Prize.