Monday, February 11, 2013

Temple Of A Thousand Faces-John Shors

Temple Of A Thousand Faces

John Shors

NAL, Feb 5 2013, $16.00

ISBN: 9780451239174

In 1177 King Indravarman leads his vast invading Chams army as they attack Angkor in a bloody assault. Khmer Prince Jayavar and his number one wife Ajadevi flee into the jungle as the Cham horde devastate his overwhelmed people.

Now the king with the death of his father, Jayavar recruits thousands of troops like the fishing family of Boran, Soriya and their sons Vibol and Prak, who have witnessed the atrocities. Jayavar knows he has nowhere near the number of soldiers that the Cham claims, even fewer experienced warriors compared to their vicious adversaries; and they also lack the equipment. Indravarman’s top-level advisor Asal meets and falls in love with Khmer prisoner Voisanne. She opens his mind to the genocide and reminds him of what he prefers forgotten with the horrors he witnessed first-hand as a youth. Knowing the monarch will torture them until they die; Asal and Voisanne flee the Chams to join the Khmer resistance.

This is a profound rare look at twelfth century Cambodia as readers learn much about the Middle Age Buddhist and Hindu spiritualism and the Khmer culture; symbolized by the Angkor Wat complex. However that historical insight also tends to slow down the storyline with incredible layers of Eastern philosophical and religious depth. Fans who prefer intense passive societal deepness at the cost of action will enjoy John Shor’s perceptive look at Angkor a half of century before Thomas Aquinas’ writings.

Harriet Klausner

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