"10th day of the 1st moon, 17th year of King Chinp'yōng It is the Hour of the Pig when the whole palace is settling down to sleep and only the watchmen and astronomers are awake. I have not had a chance during the festival season to sit at my favorite stargazing spot. It is here where I feel most alive. Here inside the grand mystery of the stars... How can I help myself, Grandmother? During the day, everything is chaotic in Kumsong. Men rush around the palace, merchants hawk their wares. The city is a jumble of oxen and horses and children and slaves, all bellowing and laughing and tripping over one another to get where they are going. But at night, all is still and peaceful. I can look up into the heavens and find order... My roots are here, Grandmother. My roots are in the stars."
"First and foremost. I'd sincerely like to thank Jungsoo Kim of New York University for her invaluable help unraveling the many obscurities of ancient Silla. I'd also like to thank my marvelous editor. Sonia Black and my friends at Scholastic, my beloved agent Molly Friedrich, Jean Marzollo, who took the trouble to teach me about the world of young adult literature, and of course Sean Redmond, my husband, friend, and now consummate babysitter..."