In the 1930s and 40s, Man Sheung is a young girl, in a country gone mad with Japanese threats, invasion and occupation. She desperately longs for an education, but; instead, finds herself manoeuvring the horrible stench and sights on the streets of Kowloon Tong, tripping over rogue bodies (dead or dying, some quartered with pieces missing--food for the starving), trying to get the meagre rice ration, needed to keep her family alive. She escapes by refugee boat to Mainland China, treks high above the midstream of the Yangtze to a school, in a Ming Dynasty built hermitage, but soon has to evacuate. All alone, she keeps one heart-pounding step ahead of the ruthless enemy. Numbed and emotionally at the breaking point, she gets to Chungking. The Sino-Japanese war ends. She is given her brother Kit's air force uniform and personal belongings, among which, is an unfinished letter to their mother. Even though, China is now at Civil War, primitive instinct drives her homeward.
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