by Eliot Pattison
Having not read any of Inspector Shan Tao Yun's exploits before I found myself fascinated with the hints about his past and fall from grace. There is much for me to catchup on, yet the lack of background did not detract from my understanding of trouble in Shan's past and how that placed him in the now.
Here he is a constable in an isolated Tibetan town of Yangkar in Lhadrung County. Shan is confronted with two bodies found in an ancient Tibetan tomb on the Plain of Ghosts.
The story stretches from the ancient past, to the not so ancient past to the now. The People’s Liberation Army and the Hammer of Freedom Brigade's actions in this area have had long tentacles, and those tentacles still have a stranglehold on the area.
That story is set against the background of the army's roundup of 'feral' (undocumented) Tibetans, the destruction and seizure of Buddhist temples and their goods, the separation of families and their 'reeducation', and the demon ghosts and gods roaming the area.
The exploration by Shan of ancient Tibetan artifacts, and his fascination with the Tibetan way of life, the gods, the scared places are all included in this fascinating murder mystery set in an equally as fascinating part of the world. The history of Tibet and the results for that country by China's invasion in the 1950's is brought into sharp focus.
A NetGalley ARC