I just finished reading Sterling Seagrave's book, Dragon Lady, the Life and Legend of the Last Empress of China. I really enjoyed it. I have to say it's one of the best biographies I've read with clearly drawn characters and visual descriptions of the time period and the traditions and etiquettes of the Manchu court. He makes a convincing case of why Cixi, the last Empress of China, has been unjustly villified over the years.
For anyone interested in the history of China and biographies, I highly recommend this book. It's quite a tome at 560+ pages, but a fascinating read.