Excerpt from The Lord of Death by Eliot Pattison, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Lord of Death

by Eliot Pattison

The Lord of Death
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jun 2009, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2010, 384 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

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’s shoulder. This one had been a friend. If Shan heard the voice of Tenzin Nuru on the wind he would recognize it.

He had taken several steps down the trail when the lead rope jerked him backward. The old mule, his steady companion on such treks, refused to move. Shan studied the high, windblown landscape warily, trusting completely in the animal’s instincts. The Tibetans always gave him the same mule, a graceful long-legged creature, whose bright intelligent eyes followed Shan attentively as he recited ancient Chinese poems during their descents with the dead. Its ears were back now, its head cocked.

He heard the sound of hooves on the loose gravel a moment before a small horse, saddled but riderless, burst over the low rise ahead of them. Rock and roll music blared from a battered tape player suspended on a string from the pommel; an old bolt action rifle dragged in the dirt, hanging on a broken strap. Shan’s heart sank, then he leapt for the reins to stop the horse and grabbed the gun, deftly popping out the magazine and tossing it into the rocks. He glanced quickly about for a side trail to flee down. Then, finding none, tossed his coat over his cargo, calmed the horse by stroking its neck, and shut off the music.

A moment later a man in a tattered gray uniform trotted over the rise, panting, spitting a quick curse as he recognized Shan. He paused and straightened his tunic, awkwardly accepted the rifle from Shan, then turned the weapon around and aimed it at Shan. "In the name of the People’s Republic I arrest you," the man said in a weary voice.

Shan stroked the horse’s neck. "On what charges today, Constable Jin?"

The constable, a Tibetan in his mid-thirties who had assumed a Chinese name when he’d put on the Chinese uniform, eyed the mule’s cargo uncertainly. "Murder?" he offered in a hopeful tone. Jin Bodai did not work for the dreaded Public Security Bureau but for the county, as a law enforcement functionary whose main job consisted of checking on permits and writing up traffic violations.

Shan watched patiently as Jin tucked his carbine under one arm then untied the outer rope on the mule’s bundle, exposing Tenzin’s head. The constable lifted the head by the hair, bent closer to study it, then dropped it, and looked back at Shan with a quizzical expression.

"Any doctor," Shan explained in a steady voice, "even those in Tingri county, would tell you this man died at least two days ago. A dozen people could testify I was with them two days ago, in town, working at the warehouse."

Jin, more peeved than ever, jabbed the gun toward Shan again. "Still," he ventured, "a man without his papers, an illegal carrying a corpse. It would be enough to get me off this damned mountain at least."

"You lost your ammunition, Constable." Hardly a week went by when the two of them did not spar, but more than once Shan had rescued Jin by preparing paperwork needed for China’s vast law enforcement bureaucracy.

Excerpted from The Lord of Death by Eliot Pattison Copyright © 2009 by Eliot Pattison. Excerpted by permission of Soho Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Here I Am
    Here I Am
    by Jonathan Safran Foer
    With almost all the accoutrements of upper middle-class suburban life, Julia and Jacob Bloch fit the...
  • Book Jacket: Harmony
    Harmony
    by Carolyn Parkhurst
    In previous novels such as The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, Carolyn Parkhurst has shown herself...
  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Darling Days
    by iO Tillett Wright

    A devastatingly powerful memoir of one young woman's extraordinary coming of age.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
This Must Be the Place
by Maggie O'Farrell

An irresistible love story for fans of Beautiful Ruins and Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.