Temple of a Thousand Faces

Temple of a Thousand Faces

4.2 9
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

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.

READERS GUIDE INCLUDED

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451239174
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/05/2013
Pages:
544
Sales rank:
556,491
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

Meet the Author

John Shors is an international bestselling author whose work has been translated into twenty-six languages.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Boulder, Colorado
Date of Birth:
March 4, 1969
Place of Birth:
Des Moines, Iowa
Education:
B.A. in English, Colorado College, 1991
Website:
http://www.beneathamarblesky.com

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Temple of a Thousand Faces 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
SueBHolland More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of John Shors, and his latest novel, Temple of a Thousand Faces, is wonderful. This novel is set about a thousand years ago at the magnificent temple of Angkor Wat. If you enjoy rich, epic, exciting historical fiction, you'll love this novel. I certainly did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best historical fiction is that which brings another culture, another time, back to vivid life. Temple of a Thousand Faces, in my opinion, does just that. This remarkable and fast-paced novel celebrates the legendary temple of Angkor Wat, and the people who brought it to  life and who protected it. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hasnt been touched since 2013
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WallyR More than 1 year ago
In 1177 in Angkor, Khmer (now Cambodia), Prince Jayavar and his chief wife, Ajadevi, stand on a causeway gazing at the colossal multiterraced sandstone temple, its “five towers shaped like lotus buds” ascending in a tropical forest. Suddenly, after sailing up a Mekong River tributary, a large force from neighbouring Champa (central and south Vietnam) attacks Angkor. Following a fierce battle, Jayavar and Ajadevi are forced to flee into the jungle and hide at a secret location.Assisted by his vile henchman, Po Rame, King Indravarman of the Cham rules Khmer with terror and engages in a massive hunt for Jayavar. Indravarman also takes on a number of concubines, including a stunning Khmer beauty named Voisanne. As a reward for bravery, he gives Voisanne to Asal, one of his officers, and Asal is immediately smitten with her. After some intense encounters with the jealous Rame, Asal begins to question his allegiance to Indravarman. Meanwhile, while evading Indravarman’s warriors, Jayavar regroups his Khmer force and seeks assistance from the Siamese to recapture his kingdom.This novel differs somewhat from John Shors’ acclaimed Beneath a Marble Sky, which centered on the construction of the Taj Mahal. Here, while the equally impressive Angkor Wat temple features in the story, the plot deals primarily with the loves, betrayals, divided loyalties, and tales of survival that played a part in the struggle for reclaiming Khmer. Furthermore, Shors’ impressive cast of characters includes some ordinary people, members of a fishing family, which enlivens his settings. Although he notes in the preface that “through necessity I’ve created many elements of this novel,” it reads very authentically, but the mention of slaves in the Hindu/Buddhist community is jarring. Written in Shors’ enjoyable style, with an eye for details of Khmer flora and fauna, this novel is destined to be a blockbuster. Highly recommended.This review was first posted by Waheed Rabbani in the Historical Review Magazine, issue 63, February 2013. Waheed Rabbani is a historical fiction author whose novels are available at Barnes and Noble
MyBookAddictionandMore More than 1 year ago
TEMPLE OF A THOUSAND FACES by John Shors is an interesting historical fiction set in 1177. 12th century Angkor Wat is reflected in an epic tale of danger,revenge,hate,love,survival,heartbreak,tyranny,betrayal and romance. Prince Jayavar and Ajadevi find themselves on a quest to build an army,regain Jayavar's lands that was taken by force by, Indravarman,the Chams leader. A fascinating story with engaging characters. While, Mr. Shors is a wonderful storyteller,I could not quiet connect with the characters nor did I understand the language,even with the readers guide at the back. If you enjoy Cambodian culture,Southwest Asian history,you will enjoy "Temple of a Thousand Faces". Be warned it does have foul language throughout.Received for an honest review from the publisher. RATING: 3 HEAT RATING: Hot: Detailed sex scenes,profanity or graphic violence *Due to foul language* REVIEWED BY: AprilR,(Courtesy of My Book Addicton and More)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MichelleRyan1 More than 1 year ago
Historical fiction is my favorite genre, yet I feel as if its best writers always tend to focus on the events of Europe. John Shors is a notable exception. I very much enjoyed his first novel, Beneath a Marble Sky, which tells the story behind the creation of the Taj Mahal. His new novel, Tempe of a Thousand Faces, concerns the temple of Angkor Wat. Temple of a Thousand Faces is a wonderfully ambitious novel. It's a true saga, and carried me into an ancient and wondrous world. I was alongside his characters as they fled into the jungle, prayed at Angkor Wat, loved by the riverside, and battled against powerful foes. This is exactly my kind of story. Luckily for me, it is more than 500 pages long, so I got to escape for a long time! A wonderful, wonderful novel.