by Sophie Schiller
Find out more about this book and author:
Just released: January 26, 2015
Publisher: Tradewinds Publishing
Genre: Adventure, Historical, France
Paperback: 336 pages
An intrepid band of explorers headed by Gabriel Bonvalot, France’s greatest explorer, and his partner, Prince Henri d’Orléans, attempt to be the first living Europeans to reach Lhasa. Before they leave Paris, Bonvalot meets Camille Dancourt, the beautiful, strong-willed wife of a French surveyor who disappeared in Tibet, who desperately wishes to join the expedition.
When the caravan sets out they face freezing temperatures, violent winds, mountain sickness, hostile Tibetans, duplicitous Chinese Mandarins, and a beguiling Tibetan Buddhist princess with a deadly secret.
When the explorers reach Tibet, they discover a land of mystery and intrigue, a land of danger that promises them only one thing: death. On the verge of collapse, Bonvalot realizes they must resort to deadly force if they ever wish to escape Tibet alive.
For the most part, this story was a travelogue (without pictures). It went into the details and logistics of a caravan traveling to, in and around Tibet during the 1800s. Along with horrendous weather and terrain conditions to battle at times, local people and authorities in regards to paperwork, official documents and bribes created road blocks to contend with as well.
Despite different personalities and reasons to travel, the key characters of this story shared the same one-track mind and determination to get through the journey.
Although there was a woman in this expedition, not much of her experience is presented. I would have liked to read more about what she had to deal with during her travels. For instance, how did she deal with personal grooming i.e. the monthly periods?
I was also curious to know more about the different cultures they encountered and wanted more colorful descriptions of the people and surroundings.
There is also a side story of a missing person mystery that carries to the end.
The author's notes revealed how the two explorers came to be the focus of this story which was a fun trivia bit to learn about.
About the author:
Among other oddities her family tree contains a Nobel prize-winning physicist and a French pop singer.
She loves stories that carry the reader back in time to exotic and far-flung locations.
She was educated at American University, Washington, DC and lives in Brooklyn, NY.
She is currently at work on a new historical thriller set in the Caribbean.
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