Temple of a Thousand Faces

Temple of a Thousand Faces

4.7 7
by John Shors
     
 

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In his international bestseller Beneath a Marble Sky, John Shors wrote about the ancient passion, beauty, and brilliance that inspired the building of the Taj Mahal. Now with Temple of a Thousand Faces, he brings to life the legendary temple of Angkor Wat, an unrivaled marvel of ornately carved towers and stone statues. There, in a story set

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Overview

In his international bestseller Beneath a Marble Sky, John Shors wrote about the ancient passion, beauty, and brilliance that inspired the building of the Taj Mahal. Now with Temple of a Thousand Faces, he brings to life the legendary temple of Angkor Wat, an unrivaled marvel of ornately carved towers and stone statues. There, in a story set nearly a thousand years ago, an empire is lost, a royal love is tested, and heroism is reborn.

When his land is taken by force, Prince Jayavar of the Khmer people narrowly escapes death at the hands of the conquering Cham king, Indravarman. Exiled from their homeland, he and his mystical wife Ajadevi set up a secret camp in the jungle with the intention of amassing an army bold enough to reclaim their kingdom and free their people. Meanwhile, Indravarman rules with an iron fist, pitting even his most trusted men against each other and quashing any hint of rebellion.

Moving from a poor fisherman's family whose sons find the courage to take up arms against their oppressors, to a beautiful bride who becomes a prize of war, to an ambitious warrior whose allegiance is torn—Temple of a Thousand Faces is an unforgettable saga of love, betrayal, and survival at any cost.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"The river was red. The red of both birth and death." Thus begins the prophecy of Ajadevi, visionary and queen to Jayavar, in Shors's thousand year-old dive into the Indochinese past, one unfamiliar to most Westerners. The Khmer people, under the leadership of their heroic royals, are struggling to regain the temple complex of Angkor Wat, the center of their culture, from the invading Chams. Predictably structured with the requisite romance budding across enemy lines, the novel reads quickly and is populated by a host of archetypal characters: a brave fishing family, beautiful upper class women, warriors, insurgents, slaves, and concubines. Shors (Beneath a Marble Sky) simplified names as he fleshed out a history of which few accounts survive; thus, his use of language makes the characters our contemporaries, however, as historical fiction, the cultural details feel shallow, limited to clothing and some sketched views of the temples. Refreshingly, strong Khmer women carry the novel forward; offering a welcome change of perspective on the epic tradition. It's said that there are only two stories in the world-a man goes on a journey and a stranger comes to town; here, Shors gives us both.
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From the Publisher
"An epic, extraordinary novel about love, beauty, and war, Temple of a Thousand Faces is sure to please."—Sandra Gulland, bestselling author of Mistress of the Sun

"[A] master storyteller..."—Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club

"John Shors has made himself a reputation for recreating exotic landscapes that surround heartwarming stories with captivating details."—BookPage

Kirkus Reviews
Shors' (Cross Currents, 2011, etc.) latest, set in 12th-century Cambodia. The plot centers on the efforts of Khmer Prince Jayavar and his favorite wife, Ajadevi, who've been forced to flee to the jungle following a bloody invasion of Angkor by barbaric King Indravarman of the Chams. Seeking to restore his people to their rightful place, Jayavar plans a counterattack and amasses thousands of troops, including Siamese mercenaries, to oppose the even larger Cham contingent. Among his followers are a simple fisherman and his family and a pair of young lovers. Asal is a favored advisor of the Cham king until he falls for Voisanne, a beautiful Khmer captive who helps change his perspective about war and killing and reminds him of his own heartbreak when he was younger. Facing certain torture and death, they flee Indravarman's stronghold to assist Prince Jayavar. Shors infuses the story with fascinating information about the ancient temple of Angkor Wat and Buddhist and Hindu cultures, but he often loses focus--and the interest of the reader--by deviating from the plot and providing entirely too much detail. The characters, who initially are appealing, begin to lose their luster long before the final battle between the Khmers and the Chams. The action comes to a standstill as the lovers engage in incessant declarations of love and meandering philosophical conversations; Indravarman's repetitive acts of brutality soon become tedious rather than shocking; and the continuous whining by Vibol, the fisherman's son, gets old, especially since his parents spend much of the book worrying about his self-esteem. An ambitious attempt, but it falls short of its mark.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451239174
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/05/2013
Pages:
544
Sales rank:
377,640
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"An epic, extraordinary novel about love, beauty, and war, Temple of a Thousand Faces is sure to please."—Sandra Gulland, bestselling author of Mistress of the Sun

"[A] master storyteller..."—Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club

"John Shors has made himself a reputation for recreating exotic landscapes that surround heartwarming stories with captivating details."—BookPage

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