1900. For Tianjin’s European colonists a profitable new century is dawning, but for the city’s downtrodden Chinese natives the Zodiac cycle’s end signals imminent catastrophe. Meanwhile the fearsome Boxer warriors – said by some to be bulletproof – are spilling in from the provinces. On restless streets, a dangerous liaison begins. Ouyang Jue, gentle layabout and heir to a merchant fortune, finds himself entangled with Xénia, a French officer’s daughter indulging every impulse on her first visit to China. Each sees liberation in the other; a chance to leap through the mirror and escape the mundane. Separated by the widening divide between their two worlds, the lovers were never meant to be. But as discontent sparks into all-out conflagration, will they find paradise behind the glass? Or will they join the ashes of what might have been?