Dew on Ginkgo Leaves

Book 2: The Viper's Revenge

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
290 Pages
Reviewed on 10/30/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite

Todd Shuler’s Dew on Ginkgo Leaves: The Viper's Revenge is the page-turning sequel to The Tigress and the General. Following the Empire’s great victories, Jade Flower is now married to the powerful general Yu Luan. The Empire will be tested once again when Huimin, a chief official, is abducted, and Jade finds a note in a rice bowl: “They killed my husband and my son. I will have vengeance. In ninety days, the empire will fall.” Along with it is the symbol of a serpent in the bottom right-hand corner. They have no doubt that it came from Madam Viper, the secret leader of the Golden Ginkgo Society. She is still making her presence felt within the palace and still has loyal agents in her service. For all of China, the husband and wife team and the palace officials will get to the bottom of the threat that will pit loyalty against betrayal.

Todd Shuler’s skill at creating tension through taut pacing cannot be overlooked. His sensory details have the right balance to enhance character, setting, and situations. It greatly benefits you as the reader as the words on the page feel like they vividly flash the scenes in your head. As historical fiction, it gives a sense of honesty and believability. It is a fictional discourse that is real. The captivating charm of the described period does not make Shuler appear as a foreign voice writing about China. At the end of The Viper’s Revenge, the gracefulness of Shuler’s narrative will leave you with a lasting impression.

Edith Wairimu

The Viper's Revenge by Todd Shuler is a work of historical fiction and the second book in the Dew on Ginkgo Leaves series. The novel opens with an apprehensive scene. Huimin, the Emperor and Empress’s chief attendant, has allegedly been kidnapped by the influential Golden Ginkgo Society (GGS), which poses a deadly threat to the Dragon Throne of China. Having carried out successful missions in the past, General Yu Luan, an adviser and close confidante to the Emperor, and his strong-willed and brave wife, Jade Flower, work on identifying the informant who is working with the GGS and has close contact with the dynasty. As the threat continues to grow and the GGS’s audacity increases, Yu Luan and Jade Flower become more aware of the risk the dynasty is facing.

Todd Shuler weaves Yu Luan and Jade Flower’s volatile personal relationship into their dangerous mission of protecting the Dragon Throne. Their conversations and perspectives bring out their personalities and flaws, which makes them realistic as the main protagonists in the story. Their close friends Ching and Anbai are also significant to the novel as they help Yu Luan and Jade Flower navigate their personal lives. Their wisdom is also critical to the mission. The plot is peppered with many risky events and, for a while, the truth about the person behind the dreaded GGS is shrouded in mystery. Though resolute and fearless, Jade Flower is deeply flawed. Many times, her impulsiveness and short temper jeopardize the mission. With the help of her friends, she begins to grow and her progress is covered in the novel, another aspect I appreciated about the book. Even though I have not read the first book in the series, I was able to dive right into this one. The novel is well-written in all aspects. The Viper's Revenge by Todd Shuler is a gripping read that combines the uncertainty of a treacherous assignment with the dramatic scenes of a young couple’s relationship.

Foluso Falaye

After twenty-eight-year-old General Yu Luan and his wife, Jade Flower, had saved the empire and the Dragon Throne from being overthrown by the Golden Ginkgo Society, they witness another threat by the same group in the form of a note that warns of the fall of the empire in 90 days. Additionally, the chief attendant of the Emperor is kidnapped, prompting the Emperor to send a warrior troop on an assignment to Shanghai, a city that is home to many members of the Golden Ginkgo Society. As they journey towards Shanghai, the elite warriors, including Jade Flower and her husband, encounter some wild animals that seem out of place on the path they traveled. Has the mission been compromised? Find out in The Viper's Revenge: Book 2 of the Dew on Ginkgo Leaves by Todd Shuler.

Set in a world of sword-wielding samurais and brick-hard Fung Fu warriors, The Viper's Revenge delivers a heart-racing and hard to put down action story that sharply portrays the rich, ancient culture of China. I knew my emotions were fully arrested by the story when I was worried and scared for the protagonists as I followed them through several dangerous clashes, with some resulting in death. However, that didn't deter me from finishing the book as soon as possible because I just had to unravel the mystery of a possible betrayal; Todd Shuler's strategy is to ensure that every single line propels you to the very next. The Viper's Revenge is enjoyable as a stand-alone book, but make sure to finish important chores before picking it up. I mean it. Don't leave your stove on!