Shan Tao Yun is an exiled Chinese national, a former Beijing investigator, on parole from the Tibetan gulag to which he had been consigned as punishment. He is ferrying a corpse on muleback over the slopes of Chomolungma - Everest - at the request of a local wisewoman who says the gods have appointed this task to him, when he encounters what looks like a traffic accident. A government bus filled with imprisoned illegal monks has overturned. Should the escaping monks be caught, the brutal Chinese knobs will punish them. Then Shan hears gunfire. Two women in an approaching sedan have been killed. One is the Chinese Minister of Tourism; the other, a blond Westerner, organizes climbing expeditions. Though she dies in his arms, Shan is later met with denials that this blond foreigner is dead.
Shan must find the murderer, for his recompense will be the life and sanity of his son, Ko, imprisoned in a Chinese "yeti factory" where men are routinely driven mad.
No one ever died on Mount Chomolungma, the sherpas always told Shan Tao Yun when he was sent to retrieve a body. A man might freeze so hard his fingers would snap like kindling, his bones might be shattered in a thousand-foot fall, but the mother goddess mountain - Everest to Westerners - captured their spirits, keeping them alive and within her grip for her own purpose. They werent exactly alive, but they werent dead in the traditional sense, an old sherpa had warned him, as if Shan should expect the corpse he conveyed to be summoned back up the mountain at any time. More than one of Shans new friends in the climbing camps insisted that in the winds blowing from the summit they sometimes heard the voices of those who had died years earlier. Shan glanced at the snow-capped peak as he soberly tightened the rope fastening his canvas-wrapped burden to the pack mule, lightly resting his hand for a moment on the roundness that was the dead man...
An intricate yet logical plot, deep character construction and a wonderful sense of atmosphere combine to form a truly top-notch mystery novel.
(Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).
Full Review (1097 words).
A Short History of Tibet
Tibet, a remote region along the southwestern border of China, sits at 15,000 feet above sea level between the Himalaya and Kunlun mountain ranges. The first recorded king of the region was Srong-btsan sgam-po, who is credited with introducing Buddhism to Tibet around 640 AD. He and his descendants ruled over a unified Tibet through the 8th century, but the empire eventually collapsed into a collection of small independent kingdoms.
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If you liked The Lord of Death, try these:
When the wife of a North Korean diplomat in Pakistan dies under suspicious circumstances, O is told to investigate, with a curious proviso: Dont look too closely at the details, and stay away from the question of missiles. Soon, however, the Inspector discovers he is up to his ears in missiles - and somebody wants him dead.
Leads the reader through the mountains of India and across the rugged terrain of the human heart on a journey that will long be remembered.
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