A novel which centers around Angkor Wat, Prince Jayavarman VII’s forced exile and his eventual return to Angkor as King. John Shors did a wonderful job in recreating life as the Khmers might have experienced it, within and around Angkor Wat, which already existed as a magnificent and worshipped structure then. His characters are humanly flawed – they fail, they succumb to their desires and ego, yet they also give in to the simple joys of life – being with family, waking up next to your loved ones everyday – all these facets come together to give light and depth to each character.
“Why did you come here? Why did you attack us?”Asal had asked himself the same question. “The nature of men is to wage war,” he replied, and then offered her a flask of wine and bamboo tube, which she took. “Chams. Khmers. Siamese. We all fight.”“Perhaps if you were women, if you created life, you wouldn’t be so quick to take it.”
Overall, an appealing and emotional read, especially if you have just experienced the beauty and magnificence of Angkor Wat, and can’t get enough of it.