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In 1906, the Chinese in California lived in the shadows. Their alien customs, traditions, and language hid what they valued from their neighbors . . . and left them open to scorn and prejudice. Their communities were ruled -- and divided -- by the necessity of survival among the many would-be masters surrounding them, by struggles between powerful tongs, and by duty to their ancestors. Then, in the wake of natural disaster, fate brought to light artifacts of incredible value along the Monterey coast: an ancient Chinese jade seal and a plaque inscribed in a trio of languages lost to all but scholars of antiquity. The path to the truth, however, would prove to be as tangled as the roots of the ancient cypress that had guarded these treasures for so long, for there are some secrets the Chinese were not ready to share. Nearly a century would pass before an unconventional young American scientist unearths evidence of this great discovery and its mysterious disappearance. He begins to assemble a new generation of explorers to resume the perilous search into the ocean's depth . . . and the shadows of history. This striking debut novel by a masterful writer weaves together two fascinating eras into one remarkable tale. In the Shadow of the Cypress depicts California in all its multicultural variety, with a suspense that draws the reader inexorably on until the very last word.