In the Shadow of the Cypress: Book summary and reviews of In the Shadow of the Cypress by Thomas Steinbeck

In the Shadow of the Cypress

By Thomas Steinbeck

In the Shadow of the Cypress
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2010,
    256 pages.

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Book Summary

In 1906, the Chinese in California lived in the shadows. Their alien customs, traditions, and language hid what they valued from their neighbors .... and left them open to scorn and prejudice. Their communities were ruled—and divided—by the necessity of survival among the many would-be masters surrounding them, by struggles between powerful tongs, and by duty to their ancestors.

Then, in the wake of natural disaster, fate brought to light artifacts of incredible value along the Monterey coast: an ancient Chinese jade seal and a plaque inscribed in a trio of languages lost to all but scholars of antiquity. At first, chance placed control of those treasures in the hands of outsiders—the wayward Irishman who’d discovered them and a marine scholar who was determined to explore their secrets. The path to the truth, however, would prove to be as tangled as the roots of the ancient cypress that had guarded these treasures for so long, for there are some secrets the Chinese were not ready to share. Whether by fate, by subtle design, or by some intricate combination of the two, the artifacts disappeared again ... before it could be proved that they must have come there ages before Europeans ever touched the wild and beautiful California coast.

Nearly a century would pass before an unconventional young American scientist unearths evidence of this great discovery and its mysterious disappearance. Taking up the challenge, he begins to assemble a new generation of explorers to resume the perilous search into the ocean's depth ... and the shadows of history. Armed with cutting-edge, modern technology, and drawing on connections to powerful families at home and abroad, this time Americans and Chinese will follow together the path of secrets that have long proved as elusive as the ancient treasures that held them.

This striking debut novel by a masterful writer weaves together two fascinating eras into one remarkable tale. In the Shadow of the Cypress is an evocative, dramatic story that depicts California in all its multicultural variety, with a suspense that draws the reader inexorably on until the very last page.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Steinbeck's naturalism and his accomplished voice make it clear that the family's literary legacy is in good hands." - Publishers Weekly

"There are two Steinbecks in the world, one is John and one is Thom, and they are twins in excellence." - Ray Bradbury

"Thomas Steinbeck displays the skill and reverence for a well-told story. . . . [His] attention to historical detail and quick character development put the reader at the center of his stories." - The Seattle Times

"Thomas Steinbeck has found his own voice and he exults in the sound of it. This is authentic, honest American writing. The kind of writing a father would be proud of." - Playwright Terrence McNally

"Thomas Steinbeck shares with his father an empathy for strugglers, for life's long sufferers who prevail through courage or die trying. These days, this is almost antique writing and it's more than welcome." - Book Magazine

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Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Deloris Grant
A Master of suspense
Thomas Steinbeck brilliantly introduces a narrator that seduces the reader to pay attention to his story. This narrator is a highly educated and intriguing storyteller. Steinbeck creates suspense with his narrator. The narrator controls the audience. There is a perfect blend of mystery in the plot. This is a must read for people who like good mysteries.

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Author Information

Thomas Steinbeck Author Biography

Author photo: Marion Ettlinger

Thomas Steinbeck began his career in the 1960s as a combat photographer in Vietnam. Known best for his short stories, his collection Down to the Soundless Sea won critical praise. Along with his writing and producing obligations, Steinbeck is in demand as a public speaker where he lectures on American literature, creative writing, and the communication arts. He lives in California with his wife Gail.

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