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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.


Passionately imagined
Superbly evoked are the luxury and refinement that co-exist with cold cruelty and a fatalism that to us is puzzling. Minister Lee and Yu Xuanju cannot live with or without each other, and their long-running and tortured love affair is a beautifully handl
A great and passionate storyteller
Rich in atmosphere, lavishly described...captivating... Hill is not afraid to humanise Lily, to show her engaged in great acts of cruelty, but he does so without losing the reader's sympathy. That her life will end tragically is never in doubt, but the exact