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Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong
Young adult

Foul Lady Fortune

Repeat author

Chloe Gong is back at Book of the Month – other BOTMs include Immortal Longings and These Violent Delights.

by Chloe Gong

Excellent choice

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Quick take

Stay alert! The first imperative in this shadowy 1930s Shanghai tale of spycraft and hijinks where death is ever near.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Romance


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_LGBTQ

    LGBTQ+ themes

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_War



It’s 1931 in Shanghai, and the stage is set for a new decade of intrigue.

Four years ago, Rosalind Lang was brought back from the brink of death, but the strange experiment that saved her also stopped her from sleeping and aging—and allows her to heal from any wound. In short, Rosalind cannot die. Now, desperate for redemption from her traitorous past, she uses her abilities as an assassin for her country.

Code name: Fortune.

But when the Japanese Imperial Army begins its invasion march, Rosalind’s mission pivots. A series of murders is causing unrest in Shanghai, and the Japanese are under suspicion. Rosalind’s new orders are to infiltrate foreign society and identify the culprits behind the terror plot before more of her people are killed.

To reduce suspicion, however, she must pose as the wife of another Nationalist spy, Orion Hong, and though Rosalind finds Orion’s cavalier attitude and playboy demeanor infuriating, she is willing to work with him for the greater good. But Orion has an agenda of his own, and Rosalind has secrets that she wants to keep buried. As they both attempt to unravel the conspiracy, the two spies soon find that there are deeper and more horrifying layers to this mystery than they ever imagined.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Foul Lady Fortune.
Foul Lady Fortune



Out in the countryside, it doesn’t matter how loud you scream.

The sound travels through the warehouse, echoing once over in the tall ceiling slats, booming through the space and into the dark night. When it escapes, it merges into the howling wind until it is only another part of the storm that rages outside. The soldiers shuffle nervously toward the warehouse entrance, pulling at the heavy door until it slides closed, though the rain falls heavily enough that it has already soaked onto the flooring and stained the concrete in a dark semicircle. The faintest whistle of a train comes from the distance. Despite the infinitesimal chance they will be caught by any soul passing by, their instructions were clear: Guard the perimeter. No one can know what is happening here.

“What is the final verdict?”

“Successful. I think it is successful.”

The soldiers are spread out across the warehouse, but two scientists stand around a table at the center. They stare impassively at the scene before them, at the test subject strapped down by thick buckles, forehead beaded with sweat. Another convulsion tears through the subject from head to toe, but their voice has grown hoarse from shrieking, and so their mouth merely pulls wide and soundless this time.

“Then it works.”

“It works. We have the first part complete now.”

One of the scientists, putting a pen behind their ear, signals to a soldier, who approaches the table to release the buckles in turn: all those on the left, then all those on the right.

The buckles drop, metal clanking to the floor. The subject tries to roll over, but they panic, jerking too hard and tipping off the table instead. It is a terrible sight. The subject lands in a sprawl at the scientists’ feet and heaves for breath—heaves and heaves like they cannot fill their lungs properly, and perhaps they never will again.

A hand comes down upon the subject’s head. The touch is gentle, almost tender. When the scientist peruses their work, smoothing at the subject’s hair, their expression is set with a smile.

“It’s all right. You mustn’t struggle.”

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Why I love it

It’s hard to pin down or describe Foul Lady Fortune, but the attempt gives me a rather violent delight. I am a writer after all. So in a word, Foul Lady Fortune is thrilling. At every turn, Chloe Gong keeps us on our toes, blending equal parts action and mystery in an epic tale of loyalty, honor, and betrayal. Make sure you have a comfortable chair before you start reading.

Foul Lady Fortune is a spinoff of the These Violent Delights duology set in 1930’s Shanghai, a time when "foreign devils" were exploiting China, while civil war brewed. Rosalind Lang is an assassin with a need to atone for her past failings. After being injected with an experimental serum that gives her the ability to heal from any wound, albeit painfully, she becomes the nationalist party’s top choice to investigate a series of murders that have terrorized the population. In order to reduce suspicion, she and another spy, the handsome and infuriatingly cavalier playboy Orion Hong, are embedded as newlyweds. Each of them hold secrets which threaten to undermine their mission.

As the book progresses, allegiances are questioned at every turn, setting sister against sister, and husband against wife. The experience will have you up late flipping pages furiously. I dare you not to be enthralled.

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Member ratings (3,885)

  • Taylor V.

    Holland, MI

    I can’t wait to spend more time in this world because i have my suspicions on that note! An excellent YA ‘light’ fantasy perhaps. In a way the whole series feels like historical magical realism to me!

  • Isabella M.

    Naples, FL

    i didn’t realize that i needed to read these violent delights before this one😫 either way, it was a fantastic read!! but now i need closure. and the sequel :’( -noteworthy: slaying slow burn romance

  • Lauren L.

    Birmingham , AL

    Okay….wow. Just finished and I am speechless. The ending had twist and turns that I honestly didn’t see coming. Highly recommend if you’re looking for a good spy novel! I cannot wait for the next book

  • Ariel P.

    San Diego, CA

    I’ve never ached for a sequel so much before. This book was so satisfying seeing everything unravel and reveal. I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the secrets and conclusions in the second book

  • Rebecca C.

    Greenville, NC

    Gong’s spy fantasy romps through China in the 20s and 30s never cease to please! Loved this one even though I began reading determined to hate Rosalind. I couldn’t for long! Hope there’s a sequel!

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