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A fairy-tale infused historical novel for adults set in the late 18 th century, moving between Imperial China and France during the ‘Terror’ of the French Revolution, and inspired by the true story of a quest for a blood-red rose.

The novel will draw upon ‘The Blue Rose,’ a fairy tale set in China about a quest for an impossible rose.

Author's Note, Dancing on Knives

Thirty-odd years ago, a sixteen-year-old girl began scribbling down a novel in an old exercise book. She called the novel Monk’s Gate. 

Twenty-odd years ago, a twenty-six-year-old woman took the novel she had been working on for ten years and rewrote it as her thesis for a Masters of Arts in Writing. She called the novel Sea Changes.

Ten years ago or so, the novel was published as Full Fathom Five. 

One year ago, while on tour with my publicist, Peri, I told her about this book that had taken me twenty years to write and which had been published under my maiden name, Kate Humphrey. Amazed that she had never heard of it, Peri asked me to send her a copy. I dug one out and sent it to her. I soon heard, to my amazement, that my publishers, Random House, wanted to re-publish it. 

With some trepidation, I re-read the book for the first time in ten years. It was a strange experience – I remember so well those hopeful scribbles in my teens, my dogged persistence in my twenties, my joy when the book was finally published in my thirties. 

However, I was glad to bring a fresh eye and all I have learnt in the years since to the story. It was impossible not to make a few changes, but I hope the book is better for it. 

So now, thirty-odd years after I began, I am very proud to bring you the fourth and final incarnation of that novel I began on my school holidays when I was only sixteen. It is now called Dancing on Knives …