Rebels of the Heavenly Kingdom is an engrossing fictional account of a young peasant boy caught up in the Taiping Rebellion. Rescued from kidnappers, Wang Lee finds himself with a strange secret group. They are the God-worshipping society, Mei Lin tells him, dedicated to overthrowing the hated Manchu emperor of China. Wang Lee must join the rebels and learn to be a soldier -- and to kill. Singing and marching, the crusaders fight the "foreign devils" in villages and cities, on mountains and rivers.
For Wang Lee it is a time of agonizing questions that neither his companion, Chu, nor his philosopher friend, Shen, can answer. For Mei Lin, her teacher San-niang, and hundreds of other women with unbound feet, it is a time to show their strength. And for all the charcoal bearers, farmers, miners and misfits transformed into a noble army, it is a time to establish a new age -- the Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace.