Summary and book reviews of The Lord of Death by Eliot Pattison

The Lord of Death

By Eliot Pattison

The Lord of Death
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    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: Jun 2009,
    384 pages.
    Paperback: Jun 2010,
    384 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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Book Summary

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.

Chapter One

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 weren’t exactly alive, but they weren’t 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 Shan’s 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&#...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

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 Members Only (1097 words).

Media Reviews
Booklist

Starred Review. Pattison serves as literary ambassador to beautiful, brutal Tibet in a tale that engages, enlightens, and entertains.

Kirkus Reviews

A whodunit wrapped in a socio-political thriller, all the more valuable for its timeliness. Shan's sixth case...is aimed at readers who savor subtlety and complexity.

School Library Journal

Teens will be struck by how completely and systematically the Chinese government has tried to crush the Tibetan people. And they will be amazed as well by how much strength the Tibetans have found within themselves, and in their deep and complex faith.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Newcomers as well as those already emotionally invested in the resourceful and ethical sleuth will cheer him on.

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Beyond the Book

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.

Map of Tibet Map of Tibet
click for larger image including key

When Genghis Khan's forces marched through much of Asia around the turn of the 13th century, Tibetans managed to retain a good deal of autonomy and acquire ...

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