If you are having difficulty navigating this website please contact us at member.services@bookofthemonth.com or 1-877-236-8540.

Get your first hardcover or audiobook for just $5.

Join now.
Bronze Drum by Phong Nguyen
Historical fiction

Bronze Drum

by Phong Nguyen

Quick take

This epic tale of sisterhood and reclaiming homelands will have your heart pounding in your chest like drums of war.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Feminist


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_ForbiddenLove

    Forbidden love

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Underdog


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_War



Gather around, children of Chu Diên, and be brave. For even to listen to the story of the Trưng Sisters is, in these troubled times, a dangerous act.

In 40 CE, in the Au Lac region of ancient Vietnam, two daughters of a Vietnamese Lord fill their days training, studying, and trying to stay true to Vietnamese traditions. While Trưng Trắc is disciplined and wise, always excelling in her duty, Trưng Nhị is fierce and free spirited, more concerned with spending time in the gardens and with lovers.

But these sister’s lives—and the lives of their people—are shadowed by the oppressive rule of the Hán Chinese. They are forced to adopt Confucian teachings, secure marriages, and pay increasing taxes. As the peoples’ frustration boils over, the country comes ever closer to the edge of war.

Read less

Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Bronze Drum.

Why I love it

I’m always in awe of writers who can take us back in time with nothing but words on a page.

Phong Nguyen is one of those writers. How many times while reading Bronze Drum did I look up to be surprised that I wasn’t watching a palace under siege? Or a battle of bows and arrows? Many times.

But what makes Bronze Drum a particularly interesting read is its subject matter, one that is not known to many. Bronze Drum takes place in ancient Vietnam when the country was under the domain of China. Ruled by colonial powers, the people of Vietnam were heavily taxed. Meanwhile, their sons were sent abroad to wars that only benefited the emperor.

But two women dared to rebel: the legendary Trưng Sisters. Born into an aristocratic family and witnesses to the violence of the oppressive regime firsthand, the Trưng Sisters armed themselves, built a militia of women, and fought for their nation’s freedom. All this while riding elephants! It’s a seemingly impossible story, but history tells us differently and Bronze Drum takes us there.

Along the way, we come to understand the inner lives of these historical figures as they yearn and love and grieve and pick themselves back up. This is a different type of war novel, one that has a little bit of something for everyone. Whatever type of reader you are, you’re in for a treat!

Read less

Member ratings (2,465)

  • Maggie S.

    Topeka , KS

    Beautiful book with strong female characters. The sisters’ triumphs & heartbreaks were very moving. I also loved getting to learn about a culture and period in history that I didn’t know about.

  • Lisa T.

    Harbor Spring, MI

    This is a rare book I'm going to keep in my library. I will definitely RECOMMEND it but people can buy there own. Absolutely wonderful read and a big thank you to BOTM for finding such a treasure.

  • Kimberly K.

    Bethel Park, PA

    an incredible story of girl power! I loved this story of events and people about whom I previously knew nothing. The names were a little difficult to keep straight, but I got used to it. 4/5 stars.

  • Ananya T.

    Urbana , IL

    Incredible storytelling! I’m totally in love with this book! CW: graphic violence Please check out @hoardingbooks.herdingcats on Instagram for more book reviews and features’ ❤️

  • Kelsey M.

    Beach Haven, NJ

    Such an epic story of women and Vietnam, and I had only heard of the legend once before! The Trung sisters are worthy of praise and I like how this books explores them as people, too.