Just as the Sino-Japanese War was drawing to a close and the Japanese were retreating, civil war took hold of China. Li Chi-Nian was in charge of transporting the national treasures from the Forbidden City south to the Kuomintang controlled capital in the south, Nanjing. But as he travelled across the great expanse of China’s inland, he lost the thing most precious in all the world, his family.
Sixty years later, two brothers separated in war, a sister lost in the Kuomintang’s retreat from the mainland, a daughter who cannot connect with her father, a young man who escaped death, a lawyer haunted by his childhood memories and a mysterious figure, a shadow that has followed the passage of time… This is the family, long lost. But one thing still connects them, one of ancient China’s most exquisite and mysterious pieces of calligraphy, To My Sister by Wang Xizhi. But how exactly? How can seventeen beautifully written Chinese characters, faded by the hands of time, bring together these people after so many decades apart?