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The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas (The Silk Road Trilogy) [Kindle Edition]

Dmitry Chen , Liv Bliss
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The first book in Russia's acclaimed Silk Road Trilogy, available in English for the first time, is full of mystery, memorable characters, and nonstop adventure. In the heart of the world, where empires collide, Nanidat Maniakh, a dashing trader, is enjoying the good life as head of a powerful silk dynasty. Yet Fate has other plans: Nanidat's world is suddenly torn asunder by murder and revolution, and the fate of his homeland hangs in the balance. Overnight, this able merchant must become a cunning warrior and spy, while eluding assassins, negotiating with kings, and pursuing a long-lost love. This thrilling and rich historical thriller, set in 749 CE—in the part of the world we now know as Iran, Iraq, and Central Asia—vividly re-creates a lost world, yet its passions and conflicts are entirely relevant to the present day.

Editorial Reviews


“Set in a time of seismic dynastic change in the story of Islam . . . an exotic world of old is brought back to fevered life with plot twists aplenty in a drama as lethal as a jeweled assassin’s knife.”  —Benson Bobrick, author, The Caliph's Splendor: Islam and the West in the Golden Age of Baghdad

"Not only a best-selling tale of action and adventure but also a surprisingly poetic book, and in that unexpected coupling of poetry and hard-bitten thriller lies all its charm . . . Chen's books are of course easy to read, but they are also irreproachably historically accurate and literally bursting at the seams with offbeat and often eye-opening information."  —Diplomat

About the Author

Dmitry Chen is the pseudonym for a Russian author who has been observing and writing about Asia for more than 30 years. He has published seven novels and a variety of short stories. His Silk Road Trilogy was immensely popular in Russia and earned him a reputation as the most "foreign" writer in contemporary Russian literature. Liv Bliss has been a freelance translator, editor, and language consultant since the 1970s. Her translation of Godsdoom: The Book of Hagen by Nick Perumov was published in 2007. She lives in the White Mountains of Arizona.

Product Details

  • File Size: 778 KB
  • Print Length: 369 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1940585007
  • Publisher: Edward & Dee (September 1, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00F21UF2U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #800,899 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
An excellent novel told by a superb story teller in the only narrative possible to be so effective: that of the protagonist, "The HawK". After putting it down and sleeping on it for 12 hours, I realized that for most of those hours I was thinking and talking to myself in a new sort of English - emulating the lexicon of Liv Bliss, translator. She did well to bring to life not only the author's story but the epoch, the vernacular, the counties, continent, customs, culture and many, many clashes on a revolutionary stage of trade, war and developing societies. This 'stage' had unlimited acts, infinite performers - as many as a Caliph could muster for an army and then an another army; perhaps one for every theater of war essential to fulfill his own dreams of power-Nirvana. In the background were the caravans of many from the destination of one to the home of another and back, criss-crossing each other and several territories - as was paramount to bringing civilization to all. Communications were compelling, trade essential and conflict the price paid. Reading, writing, poetry were all examined through the weave of the story as they could have been a part of society in those times.

Often it was a difficult read due to the many foreign names, places, titles, complexities of terminologies, but it was not a steep price to pay to feel a full part of the epoch. It is no different than living Dickensonian times in a 20th Century re-printed novel. It is no different than reading many of our classics.

I definitely would read this again, now familiar with much of the 'landscape and persons' of the novel. I look forward to the second part of the trilogy.
I learned much. I felt challenged by reading it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enter another world April 16, 2014
This tale of murder and intrigue transports you back to a time and place that is scarcely imaginable to contemporary urbanites but comes alive so vividly in these pages.

Liv Bliss renders the original Russian in such beautiful English that you'll never know you're reading a translation: Her delightful turns of phrase and evocative storytelling are one of the books main selling points.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed but interesting November 12, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
An intriguing tale, with a wealth of wonderful description that brings to life an ancient people and time. The Hawk (not sure where the "Pet" of the title comes in, for it's never mentioned in the book) is a silk trader who suddenly finds himself embroiled in plots, assassinations, and revolutions. Lies surround him...and may be benign, manipulative, or deadly. Wounded, cut off from his family, his money, and the power he has grown accustomed to, he must find a way to survive and determine the truth before the House of Abbas falls. Who can he trust? Can he even take his brother's word as truth?

I recommend this book, although with a few caveats:

Most readers will likely find themselves confused numerous times, with the plethora of names thrown in rapid-fire. Yes, it was a complex and often confusing time, but conveying this is not the same as actually confusing the reader. It undercuts the thrill of what's befalling the central character. (My advice to the reader would be not to worry too much about stopping to figure it all out--yes, I know: odd advice when reading a mystery, but for most it's preferable to getting hopelessly bogged down.)

There are some historical foibles, despite the obvious research done for the book. For example, the word Iraq was of later date than the novel's setting...depending upon the language in question, Arak (Pahlavi for "lowland"), Uruk or Erech (the city the name was taken from), or Al-Iraq (Arabic for "place between two rivers") would have been a better choice. These all sound enough like the modern name that an astute reader will realize (especially given the map, which is also too modern) what area is being discussed. Modern names tossed into a historical novel shatter the illusion of being in that place and time.
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