Temple of a Thousand Faces

BOOK: Temple of a Thousand Faces
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Praise for the Novels of John Shors

Temple of a Thousand Faces

“An epic, extraordinary novel about love, beauty, and war,
Temple of a Thousand Faces
is sure to please.”

—Sandra Gulland, bestselling author of
Mistress of the Sun

“A gripping love story with a mystical quality that is utterly beguiling. John Shors vividly re-creates the world of twelfth-century Angkor Wat with his breathtaking descriptions, and packs it with a powerful tale of danger and revenge that had me hooked. I was there. I lived it. Riding a war elephant or gliding naked through a pool of water lilies. Full of fascinating characters and impressive storytelling.”

—Kate Furnivall,
New York Times
bestselling author of
The Russian Concubine

Beneath a Marble Sky

“[A] spirited debut novel…. With infectious enthusiasm and just enough careful attention to detail, Shors gives a real sense of the times, bringing the world of imperial Hindustan and its royal inhabitants to vivid life.”

Publishers Weekly

“Jahanara is a beguiling heroine whom readers will come to love; none of today’s chick-lit heroines can match her dignity, fortitude, and cunning…. Elegant, often lyrical writing distinguishes this literary fiction from the genre known as historical romance. It is truly a work of art, rare in a debut novel.”

The Des Moines Register

“An exceptional work of fiction…a gripping account.”

India Post

“Highly recommended…a thrilling tale [that] will appeal to a wide audience.”

Library Journal

“Evocative of the fantastical stories and sensual descriptions of
One Thousand and One Nights, Beneath a Marble Sky
is the story of Jahanara, the daughter of the seventeenth-century Mughal emperor who built India’s Taj Mahal. What sets this novel apart is its description of Muslim-Hindu politics, which continue to plague the subcontinent today.”

National Geographic Traveler

“[A] story of romance and passion…a wonderful book if you want to escape to a foreign land while relaxing in your porch swing.”

St. Petersburg Times

“It is difficult to effectively bring the twenty-first-century reader into a seventeenth-century world. Shors accomplishes this nicely, taking the armchair traveler into some of the intricacies involved in creating a monument that remains one of the architectural and artistic wonders of the world.”

The Denver Post

“[Shors] writes compellingly [and] does a lovely job of bringing an era to life…an author to anticipate.”

Omaha World-Herald

Cross Currents

“Shors re-creates the devastating, life-overturning tsunami in prose that is stunning and profoundly moving…. It is testament to the power of his depiction that I felt my own world wrenched apart in these pages—and that I finished the last two chapters, portraying the tragedy’s physical and emotional aftermath, more deeply desirous than ever to visit this rich and resilient place.”

National Geographic

Cross Currents
is about the power of nature and the power of love—romantic, brotherly, and parental. You are held in suspense, watching the love between characters grow, knowing that this love is going to be tested severely when the tsunami hits. And when it does, you are carried away by the clash of both forces in a maelstrom of riveting action. I loved this book.”

—Karl Marlantes,
New York Times
bestselling author of

“John Shors has a great feeling for Thailand. The beauty of its geography and the pliant strength of its people are in every word of his novel
Cross Currents
, which is set in the days just before the tsunami. The suspense around what will happen to his characters (each with a vivid history and set of troubles) makes for a supremely readable tale.”

—Joan Silber, author of
The Size of the World

“Gripping, moving, and ravishingly written, Shors’s latest is a stunning story of family, connection, and the astonishing power of nature.”

—Caroline Leavitt,
New York Times
bestselling author of
Pictures of You

The Wishing Trees

“An affecting and sensitively rendered study of grief and loss, the healing power of artistic expression, and the life-altering rewards of travel to distant lands. I was deeply moved by this poignant and life-affirming novel.”

—Wally Lamb,
New York Times
bestselling author of
She’s Come Undone

“Shors’s fourth novel is a moving, emotional story about coping and coming to terms with loss. Anyone who has lost a loved one will relate to this poignant novel.”


“John Shors has made himself a reputation for re-creating exotic landscapes that surround heartwarming stories with captivating details.
The Wishing Trees
is no exception, as he replaces what might be a standard tale of recovery from loss with an alluring travelogue filled with colorful details of these chromatic countries.”


“Poignant…. Country by country, their odyssey transforms into a journey of worldly healing and renewal, nurtured by the wisdom and compassion they discover in the cultures they pass through and by the realization of the commonalities—hope, death, love—that bind all fathers, mothers, and children.”

National Geographic Traveler

Dragon House

“A touching story about, among other things, the lingering impacts of the last generation’s war on the contemporary landscape and people of Vietnam. In a large cast of appealing characters, the street children are the heart of this book; their talents, friendships, and perils keep you turning the pages.”

—Karen Joy Fowler,
New York Times
bestselling author of
Wit’s End

“A wonderful novel…. Shors transcends politics and headlines and finds the timeless and deeply human stories that are the essence of enduring fiction. This is strong, important work from a gifted writer.”

—Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of
A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain

Beside a Burning Sea

“A master storyteller….
Beside a Burning Sea
confirms again that Shors is an immense talent…. This novel has the aura of the mythic, the magical, and that which is grounded in history. Shors weaves psychological intrigue by looking at his characters’ competing desires: love, revenge, and meaning. Both lyrical and deeply imaginative.”

—Amy Tan,
New York Times
bestselling author of
The Joy Luck Club

“Features achingly lyrical prose, even in depicting the horrors of war…. Shors pays satisfying attention to class and race dynamics, as well as the tension between wartime enemies. The survivors’ dignity, quiet strength, and fellowship make this a magical read.”

Publishers Weekly

“An astounding work. Poetic and cinematic as it illuminates the dark corners of human behavior, it is destined to be this decade’s
The English Patient


“Shors has re-created a tragic place in time, when love for another was a person’s sole companion. He uses lyrical prose throughout the novel, especially in his series of haiku poems, [which] plays an integral role in the love story, and develops accessible, sympathetic characters…. A book that spans two and a half weeks, set on a deserted island, easily could become dull and redundant. But Shors avoids those turns by delving into the effects of war on each character, causing readers to attach themselves to the individuals yearning for home and the ones they love.”

Rocky Mountain News

Also by John Shors
Beneath a Marble Sky
Beside a Burning Sea
Dragon House
The Wishing Trees
Cross Currents

John Shors


Published by New American Library, a division of
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,
New York, New York 10014, USA
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Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:
80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

First published by New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

First Printing, February 2013

Copyright © John Shors, 2013
Readers Guide copyright © Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2013
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.


Shors, John.
   Temple of a thousand faces/John Shors.
      p.  cm.
   ISBN: 978-1-101-59866-5
   1. Jayvarman VII, King of Cambodia, ca. 1120–ca. 1215—Fiction. 2. Cambodia—History—800–1444—Fiction. I. Title.
   PS3619.H668T46 2013
   813’.6—dc23          2012032441

Designed by Alissa Amell
Title page photo courtesy of Alex Castellino and Andrew Ambraziejus

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
   The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.

BOOK: Temple of a Thousand Faces
11.08Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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