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
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-02-04
- Reviewer: Staff
"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. (Feb.)