Love story anchored in angkor shines light on past
John Shors' historical novel interprets events that shook the ancient Khmer empire in the tumultuous 12th century; the struggle of Prince Jayavar to retake his kingdom is framed by the prince's tender relationship with his wife and the romances of several other intriguing characters
Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples are among mankind's most mystical and beautiful feats of architecture and sculpture. Beyond the passage of kings and the flows and ebbs of invasions, however, little is known of their creation and the daily life of the people at the time. While many modern-day Cambodians and visitors alike are moved by the remaining monuments and artistic beauty, not much has been written of their historical context.
In the new epic novel Temple of a Thousand Faces, author John Shors takes up the difficult task of exploring the mysteries of ancient Angkor. Set in the context of a Cham invasion of the Khmer heartland, three storylines are interwoven to bring the kingdom's 12th century struggles to life.
The brutal Cham king Indravarman leads an army up the Mekong and the Tonle Sap river and lake (translated in the book as the "Great Lake") to sack Angkor. Many Khmer fishermen are killed before they can sound the alarm, and a fishing family led by Boran and Soriya barely escape. One of their two children, Vibol, impetuously decries his father's cowardice in fleeing rather than fighting the invasion. The other child, Prak, is blind but wise beyond his years.
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