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Temple of a Thousand Faces [Paperback]

John Shors
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 5 2013
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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Review

"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

About the Author

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

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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Magnum Opus! Feb. 18 2013
By Louise Jolly TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Story Description:

NAL Trade|February 5, 2013|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-451-23917-4

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 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.

My Review:

John Shors newest novel is an absolute work of genius! The novel, a historical fiction, set in the 1100's is one of his best works yet. I've read all of John's previous books and each was truly a stunning success on its own, however, Temple of a Thousand Faces really shines through as the magnum opus.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Historical Fiction Gem! Oct. 12 2013
By ally
Format:Kindle Edition
Angkor Wat is one of the most beautiful and well known World Heritage Sites. In this novel John Shors reads between the lines and with a mixture of fact and fiction creates the most epic and beautiful story.
The story follows several diverse groups of characters. These interesting and compelling characters make this story come to life. Prince Jayavar and his wife Ajadevi who have their empire ripped from them. Exiled to the jungle with the dream of taking back all they have lost. Indravarman, the Cham King, who desires to destroy the Khmer people and expand his own empire. Asal, Indravarman’s right hand man, who begins to despise the Cham ruler and has to choose between his people and the woman he loves. Voisanne, a woman heartbroken after losing everything she loves, only to be tossed into the hands of one of the people that took everything from her. And Boran & Soriya, and their sons, Prak & Vibol a family of simple fisher folk that lose their home but never lose sight of what’s important – their family and their people coming together to take back what is theirs.
I can’t even imagine how much time and research goes into every single John Shors book, but that dedication is what makes every story he writes an unforgettable masterpiece.
If you haven’t read Temple of a Thousand Faces, you really, really should.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Roots of Conflict in Cambodia Oct. 5 2013
Format:Paperback
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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Exotic April 3 2013
By Jan
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What else can you say about a book set in Cambodia?

The book is full of amazing descriptions of Angkor Wat and the area surrounding it (jungle etc.) and includes many beautiful reflections on Buddhism and Hinduism. The build-up to the book's climax is fantastic.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  73 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Temple of a Thousand Faces: story of a battle at Angor Wat--recommended Feb. 8 2013
By Marie A. Parsons - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Temple of a Thousand Faces refers to Angkor Wat, in what is now Cambodia. The novel is a fictional account of an actual battle between the Khmers, and the invading Chams. The Khmers are led by noble king Jayavar and his wise wife Ajadevi, and the Chams are led by the rather vicious king Indravarman.

At first glance, this seems a simple story. The defeated Khmers rally to expel the Chams from their land. The Chams seek to expand their territory.

But the story and its characters are more complex and profound, adeptly crafted by the author.

The Cham officer Asal falls in love with a captive Khmer woman, Voisanne, and realizes that he wants only to spend his life with her. They found each other in the midst of war, and cruelty, and danger. What path will they choose, in order to be together? Asal and Voisanne remind us that we may find love in the most unlikely places. And when we find it, what would we be willing to risk in order to cherish and nurture it? Can love really overcome hate and cruelty?

Boran and Soriya are simple fisher-folk. They have a strong bond with their grown sons Vibol, and Prak, who is nearly blind. All must choose whether they will stay together and fight, or whether the sons will fight separately. Vibol, who wants only revenge on the Chams, especially must decide what it really means to have courage.

What does it mean to be a king? What things are really important to a nation? Is the "other" automatically always an adversary? How will our deeds be measured? What things will truly matter to those who come after us? How will we really be remembered?

This is a story that may be quick to read, but may stay with the reader long after. The characters lived in a far earlier time and place, with different customs and beliefs. But their dreams and fears should resonate, and make us think. Also, the marvelous descriptions of the beauty of Angkor Wat may inspire readers to consider travelling there to see it!

Well recommended.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Epic Masterpiece! Feb. 8 2013
By Darlene - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Temple of a Thousand Faces by John Shors which released on February 5 marks a return to historical fiction for John and I can best describe this book as no less than an epic masterpiece. I have read many of John’s books but this is my absolute favorite so far and I don’t imagine I will forget this story for some time. This novel is engaging and amazing on so many levels and so beautifully written. What adds to the story is that John actually traveled to Cambodia and visited the temple of Angkor Wat and researched his story as much as was possible. However the story takes place in the year 1177 and not a lot of information is left so what he couldn’t find he imagined and that is where the magic of this story comes alive.

Prince Jayavar and his chief wife Ajadevi are of the Khmer people. They are people of love and peace and when their homeland is attacked by the Cham people they find themselves running for their lives and manage to escape into the jungle. The Cham King is a ruthless and cruel man who thinks nothing of wiping out entire families in order to feed his power and greed. When the prince’s family is destroyed Jayavar becomes King and along with his wife’s counsel he begins to build an army in order to exact his revenge and take back his homeland for his people.

As mean as the Cham King Indravarman is all of his soldiers are not; in particular Asal who is a young and powerful warrior. Indravarman values him not only for his expertise as a warrior but also because he is intelligent but ultimately Indravarman is loyal to no one especially anyone who might threaten his position as King. As a reward Indravarman gives Voisanne, one of the women that had been captured by the Chams in the upheaval, to Asal. Of course Voisanne expects the worst and is surprised that Asal has no intention of hurting her. In fact as time goes on he seems quite taken with her. Can love bloom where there is so much pain and hatred?

Then we have a family who captured my heart. Boran and Soriya are parents to Vibol and Prak. Both brothers are very close with Vibol being stubborn and reckless and Prak, because he is almost blind, more settled and reliant on his other senses including his sharp mind. They are family of fishermen who know nothing of the toils of war but when Vibol is witness to the brutal murder of a girl he knew by the Chams his desire for revenge becomes overwhelming. In order to keep their family together they join Jayavar’s army and learn to fight together but above all their love for each other shines through.

This novel is about the majestic Angkor Wat but it is also very much about love and the spirituality of the people of that time. Their beliefs in dreams and signs is fascinating as is their belief that as people leave this world they come back to the same people they loved in this life. I love how the men of this time (other than the Cham people of course) valued their women and even had a temple devoted solely to them. As I read I became so invested in many of these characters and with the way this story is portrayed I felt as though I was there. I could see the beauty of Angkor Wat and I could feel the passion and love between Jayavar and Ajadevi as well as Asal and Voissanne. At the same time I could feel the heat of battle and would find my heart racing as swords and axes were flying. It is the mark of a good author when they can take you so far back in time and have you feel as though you were reliving the lives of these people.

Temple of a Thousand Faces receives the highest recommendation from me. It’s one of those books that you want to rush through because it’s so good and yet you want to put aside for a while because you don’t want the story to end. It is a novel of love betrayals, loyalty, and survival and I truly loved this book so much so that it will top my list of favorites for 2013!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning historical fiction Feb. 11 2013
By Joyce Harmon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
John Shors is one of my favorite novelists. I think he is particularly good at historical fiction, and I love the fact that he selects subject matter that is unknown to most Westerners. I had heard of the temple of Angkor Wat, but knew little about it. How my shortcoming changed by the end of this novel. Temple of a Thousand Faces is an amazing story, full of drama, intrigue, war, love, action, and betrayal. This novel reminds me of Pillars of the Earth, though I think it's more sophisticated, wise, and spiritual. Temple of a Thousand Faces is a major page-turner, and though it's more than 500 pages long I read it in a single weekend. I was completely hooked. I've already recommended this wonderful novel to many of my friends and plan on doing more of the same.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Temple of a Thousand Faces Feb. 6 2013
By Karina149 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Temple was released on the 5th at midnight, and I waited up for it! Such is my love for John Shors' books! I read it straight through and feel I was thrust into Cambodia. The story is masterfully told, completely engrossing and
destined for Greatness! I'm an avid reader of history and historical fiction and Temple of a Thousand Faces just usurped Pillars of the Earth it's 24year reign at the top of my Personal Favorites list!

I refuse to give away the story in any way! All you need to know is Destined For Greatness! READ IT NOW:)

-Karina Jimenez Ryans
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read before my visit to Angkor Wat Feb. 15 2014
By J. Hughes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is not a subject I would normally select for myself but it was on a recommended reading list for our travels there and I really enjoyed it. It provided great visuals (through effective prose) of the temple, the area that surrounds it, as well as some additional buildings. The fictional story thoroughly kept my interest and I believe was based on as much factual information could be obtained and/or conjectured. Only the last few pages were a little too 'fluffy' for me. Just a hair sappy at the end.
I recommend the book even if you won't be traveling to Cambodia.
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