A ＂superb fantasy saga＂ (Helene Wecker) of martial arts and magic, about what happens when a prophesied hero is not the chosen one after all--but has to work with a band of unlikely allies to save the kingdom anyway, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Lives of Tao＂An ambitious and touching exploration of disillusionment in faith, tradition, and family--a glorious reinvention of fantasy and wuxia tropes.＂--Naomi Novik, New York Times bestselling author of A Deadly EducationONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Gizmodo, Kirkus Reviews, The Quill to LiveSo many stories begin the same way: With a prophecy. A chosen one. And the inevitable quest to slay a villain, save the kingdom, and fulfill a grand destiny. But this is not that kind of story. It does begin with a prophecy: A child will rise to defeat the Eternal Khan, a cruel immortal god-king, and save the kingdom. And that prophecy did anoint a hero, Jian, raised since birth in luxury and splendor, and celebrated before he has won a single battle. But that’s when the story hits its first twist: The prophecy is wrong. What follows is a story more wondrous than any prophecy could foresee, and with many unexpected heroes: Taishi, an older woman who is the greatest grandmaster of magical martial arts in the kingdom but who thought her adventuring days were all behind her; Sali, a straitlaced warrior who learns the rules may no longer apply when the leader to whom she pledged her life is gone; and Qisami, a chaotic assassin who takes a little too much pleasure in the kill. And Jian himself, who has to find a way to become what he no longer believes he can be--a hero after all.