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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Nine Fold Heaven - A Guest Post By Mingmei Yip

In China, there are many woman spies – their activities range from stealing political secrets to toppling governments. What I discovered during my research of writing my previous novel Skeleton Women (femmes fatales) and my new novel The Nine Fold Heaven is that spies usually end unhappily. Most spies, no matter how cautious smart, scheming, or ruthless, in the end could not beat fate. Because the world they lived in had too much uncertainty and evil.

All a spy is allowed to possess is the “four nothings,” no friends, no identity, no emotion, no scruples. In China, there were many woman spies who will use their beauty, talent, and scheme to eliminate their target. This is called the beauty strategy, or honey trap, recorded in the famous Thirty Six Stratagems two hundred fifty thousand years ago.

Simple in principle and timeless in effectiveness, it involved sending beautiful women to eliminate anyone from lord to emperor. Twenty-five hundred years ago, during the China’s chaotic era known as the Warring States, King Goujian of Yue used it to defeat King Fuchai of the State of Wu. King Wu won the first battle and so King Yue sent him ten carts of priceless treasures as tribute. But cleverly he also included eight of the most beautiful women in his state as peace offerings. As intended, King Wu and his ministers had become so immersed in dalliance that they neglected state affairs. Tipped off by his spies, King Yue sent his army and easily defeated King Wu. Though Wu offered Yue his country and all its treasures, the victor was merciless. Yue was ordered to commit suicide in front of the very women who had brought about his ruin.

Even the most cunning man becomes a fool for a beautiful woman. Friends’ warnings fall on deaf ears. They blind themselves to the schemes behind the pretty face and the poisons in the beloved heart. When clothes come off, thinking stops.

However, there are also spies who failed at their last step to succeed because at the last minute, they could not pull the trigger. We imagine this is especially true for women. They may fall in love with their target and find themselves unable to kill.

This is what happens in Eileen Chang’s novel, Caution, Lust. When the female protagonist finally lured her victim to the place planned for his assassination, she didn’t have the heart to kill him and told him to run.

A Chinese saying, “It’s difficult for a hero to resist a beautiful woman’s love.” Thus the ever popular honey trap. But this also applies when a women meets a handsome, caring man. 

Come along with an ex spy as she returns to Shanghai where she’s a wanted woman – but she has to search for her baby and her lost lover. Is her baby really alive? Will she be able to find her lover? Can she elude the police long enough to find them? Learn much more about Nine Fold Heaven and Mingmei Yip at and get your copy of this exciting and exotic novel at

Nine Fold Heaven is part of a series about Camilla the songbird and female spy – you can also read Skeleton Women, the first book about Camilla.

About Nine Fold Heaven

An ex spy and nightclub singer who undertakes an emotional and dangerous journey to reunite with her lost lover and the baby she was told was stillborn, and to discover the secret of her parents’ murder.

About Mingmei Yip

Mingmei Yip has been writing and publishing since she was fourteen years old and now she has twelve books to her credit. Her five novels are published by Kensington Books and her two children’s books are published by Tuttle Publishing. Mingmei is also a renowned qin (ancient string instrument) musician, calligrapher and painter. In Hong Kong, she was a columnist for seven major newspapers. She has appeared on over sixty TV and radio programs in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and the US. Visit Mingmei at:

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