A great king brings peace to a warring nation. Centuries later his writings will bring hope to those facing the tragic legacy of modern Cambodia’s bloody history.
When archaeologists discover a book written on gold leaves at Angkor Wat, everyone wants a piece of the action. But the King, the Army and the UN are all outflanked when the precious artefact is kidnapped, along with Professor Luc Andrade, who was accompanying it to the capital for restoration.
Luckily for Luc his love and respect for Cambodia have won him many friends, including ex-Khmer Rouge cadre Map and the young moto-boy William. Both equally determined to rescue the man they consider their mentor and recover the golden book, they form an unlikely bond. But William is unaware of just how closely Map's violent past affects him.
The book contains the words and wisdom of King Jayavarman VII, the Buddhist ruler who united a war-torn Cambodia in the twelfth century and together with his enlightened wife created a kingdom that was a haven of peace and learning. His extraordinary story is skilfully interwoven with the tales of Luc, Map and William to create an unforgettable and dazzling evocation of the spirit of Cambodia and her peoples in all their beauty and tragedy.
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‘Inordinately readable … brilliant … this intricate double-sided tapestry is woven with ambiguities that mesmerise … its leavening of invention with compassion is as good as it gets’ Justin Wintle, Independent
‘Sweeping and beautiful … the complex story tears the veil from a hidden world’ Times
‘A marvellous book about the making of souls’ Time Out
‘Geoff Ryman has the true novelist's gift – he takes the reader inside other lives and other cultures, and makes them live with the utmost vividness. In this case we experience Cambodia in all its beauty and conflict, both past and present. Another masterpiece by one of the greatest fiction writers of our time.’ Kim Stanley Robinson
'A fascinating panorama of Cambodian life, past and present. The original subject-matter, broad scope and elegant style make for an exceptionally enlightening read.' Michael Arditti
Praise for 253:
‘Has more emotional depth than a festival of tear-jerkers’
‘A stylistically dazzling box of fireworks’
‘Astonishingly vibrant… lyrical and totally engaging’
Geoff Ryman is the author of numerous highly praised works including The Child Garden (winner of the World Fantasy award), Was and 253, the world’s first internet novel.
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Book Description Small Beer Press, 2006. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0002259885