- Paperback: 544 pages
- Publisher: Berkley; 1 edition (Feb. 5 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0451239172
- ISBN-13: 978-0451239174
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.8 x 21.1 cm
- Shipping Weight: 408 g
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #15,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Temple of a Thousand Faces Paperback – Feb 5 2013
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"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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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.
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.
The novel is about the temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia where, John himself traveled to research this book, and is set in the year 1177. The Khmer people and the Cham people go to war to seek ownership of this grand, majestic, and massive temple. I especially loved the "echo chamber".
The Khmer people were led by, Prince Jayavar with his beautiful wife, Ajadevi by his side. They are a people of unbiding and unconditional love and caring and want their citizens to live in peace and prosperity. Indravarman is head of the Cham people and is an evil, wicked, self-serving man who rules with an iron fist and has an altogether different agenda. The Cham's soliders are all dedicated to Indravarman and his evil ways except one named, Asal who falls in love with a Khmer woman named, Voisanne. Will this love be enough to make him turn tide?
I loved a wonderful family we meet along the way whose patriarch is nothing but a simple fisherman. His lovely wife, Soriya and their two boys, Prak, who is almost blind, and Vibol are Khmers. The family is so dedicated to their Prince and the people that they too are brave enough to take up arms and aid in the war. Their part in the story will make you feel good and your heart will most certainly go out to them.
Temple of a Thousand Faces is filled with a rich history, beautiful imagery, full of suspense, drama, intrigue, love, hatred, a brutal war, and finally a stunning conclusion.
One of my favourite all-time books has been Pillars of the Earth written by Ken Follett but John Shors has just bumped Pillars to second place on my list. John is truly a master storyteller.
I've just ordered five more copies to give to friends as an act of kindness and to ensure that they don't leave this earth without reading THE BEST novel they'll ever read in their lives. Thank you, John, for providing me with the best 507 pages I've ever read!
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.
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 Amazon.
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.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
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!