A murder in a ruined monastery, an FBI agent on the trail of stolen art, a British relief worker, an American billionaire in cahoots with a Chinese minister, and a beautiful woman with a dual heritage are the key ingredients in this thrilling new addition to Eliot Pattison's fascinating series featuring former Beijing detective inspector Shan Tao Yun. Released unofficially from a work camp in Tibet and now living with the forbidden lamas he has sworn to protect from Chinese efforts to eradicate them and their culture, the enigmatic inspector is caught in a web of political intrigue between the Chinese official who arranged his release and the pompous and corrupt Minister of Culture who will stop at nothing, including murder, to possess the ancient treasure believed hidden in the monastery. Shan becomes more complex and multidimensional as he faces new challenges in this adventure, including repairing his relationship with his long-missing son. The action and the central character move from the mountains and provincial capitals of Tibet, to Beijing, and even America. This is the fourth novel in Patison's unique and engrossing series; readers discovering him for the first time will want to read his backlist, especially the Edgar Award-winning The Skull Mantra
. --Jane Adams
From Publishers Weekly
The opening of Pattison's intricate fourth book (after 2002's Bone Mountain
) finds Shan, his disgraced Chinese police inspector, still living among the outcast monks in the mountains of Tibet, where the people are torn between wanting to observe their ancient religious ways and fearing the wrath of their Chinese occupiers if they do. Gradually, objects from the modern outside world begin to intrude: a gambling chip from a casino in Reno, Nev., found at a murder scene; a set of Staffordshire teacups lovingly preserved by an old Tibetan woman, who also owns a global positioning indicator. Though he's been deliberately avoiding civilization since his release from prison the year before, Shan ends up traveling to his native Beijing and finally to Seattle, ostensibly to help solve a murder mystery concerning Tibetan artworks, but really to settle a political squabble involving a veteran FBI agent, some powerful Chinese officials and an American software billionaire. The promise of a meeting with his long-lost son, now also an imprisoned criminal, raises the emotional ante. Pattison, who persuades us on every page that he knows the culture he writes about, has a tendency to explore in excruciating detail every possible twist and turn of his complex story. It may make for increased authenticity, but it also adds too many pages to a book that cries out for more economy.
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