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Silk Roads and Shadows, a riveting rainy--or sunny summer--day read

Updated on February 13, 2018
ecogranny profile image

Feel-good movie, historical fantasy novel, or an eclectic library of music, Kathryn goes for entertainment that inspires and invigorates

My well-worn copy of the book

My dog-eared copy, now more than 25 years old
My dog-eared copy, now more than 25 years old

This lilting story of a warrior princess and the ghost army she battles just may capture your mind and heart and never let it go

It did mine. To show just how dear a hot, summer—or rainy—day companion Silk Roads and Shadows has been over the years, let me tell you a little story.

When I was young, I read three or four books a day. Yup, I was a speed reader, and I intended to read every book ever written. I was that curious. You can probably imagine, I didn't take time to re-read.

But one day ...

It was a balmy Saturday evening. The children were with their father. I had the house and the weekend to myself. I strolled down to the corner drug store, intent on finding a quick, no-brainer novel, a story that would carry me far away.

Was it mere serendipity that on that very night Susan Shwartz's (then) new book, Silk Roads and Shadows, was on the shelf? Picking it up, I thumbed through, scanning random paragraphs.

Before I knew it, I had turned back to the beginning and devoured twenty pages. The manager of the store stopped by and cleared his throat. They were closing. Did I want to buy the book or spend the night here with it?

Dear Reader! I walked home like a crazed woman, weaving along, immersed in Alexandra's story. That night, vicariously traveling with Shwartz's Byzantine princess, I ventured far beyond the bounds of her country, slayed a few demons and devils along the way, and fell in love with more than one handsome gent. So deeply lost in her world was I, that I read the book cover to cover without stirring, not even to answer the call of nature.

"Statues ..." breathed Alexandra. ... Chariots drawn by four terra-cotta horses, their nostrils eternally flared in rage, their manes sculpted into windblown shapes, rumbled down the ravaged slope. In each stood a charioteer, his bronze and wood weapons ready for use.

"An army of statues!" Bryennius cried. ... Their eyes, the gelid eyes of lifeless clay, gleamed in the violet light.

What happened next surprised me most of all

The moment I read the last word on the last page, the very instant I read that very last phrase, "King of Shambhala," I turned back to the first page and started the book all over again, something I had never done before, not once. Yup, I stayed up all night.

How had Shwartz captured my attention so thoroughly that I couldn't stop reading her story, not once but twice? Believe me, I've tried to dissect the work dispassionately, but every time, I get lost in the story again. Perhaps I'll never know how she does it.

Alexandra’s adventures, passions and loves draw me back again and again

Since then, whenever I want to be transported far and away to another world, I grab my much dog-eared copy from the shelf, a pile of sweet and savory vittles, a pot of tea, and settle in for a cozy adventure with the warrior princess who saves her kingdom and brings peace to her world.

Together, we race into the treacherous lands through which the Silk Road threads, steal the silkworm caterpillar from the royal Chin palace, and battle an army five thousand strong. This is no ordinary army, but an army of life-size clay soldiers who stalk the princess and her company across ancient Asia.

Sometimes, to this day, when I get to the end of the book, if time permits I turn back to page one and start over, determined this time to figure out how Shwartz grabs and holds my attention so completely, soon forgetting everything but the story once more.

If you're looking for a good tale that will mesmerize and transport you far from your every day cares, you may enjoy this story as much as I have and still do.

Silk Roads and Shadows
Silk Roads and Shadows

With all its high adventure, you might not think this tale could soothe a wounded spirit, but it can and it has mine. Perhaps it will do as much for someone in your life needing a little escape before getting back into the fray.

 

Intrigued?

Have you read Silk Roads and Shadows? If so, what did you think of the story? If not, how tempted are you to grab it and spend a sunny afternoon, or a rainy Saturday, delving into this ancient world of intrigue, uncommon heroism, and adventure?

© 2013 Kathryn Grace

Intrigued? Have you...

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    • ecogranny profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathryn Grace 

      5 years ago from San Francisco

      @Ruthi: Thanks, Ruth. Having read a number of your lenses, I suspect you will enjoy it, but do let me know whatever you think, once you get to it.

    • profile image

      Ruthi 

      5 years ago

      Great review and one I will surely have to read - at least once! Silk Roads and Shadows will be added to my TBR list for sure!

    • profile image

      Ruthi 

      5 years ago

      @ecogranny: I have finally done the same thing and created a TBR reading list board for books too!

    • ecogranny profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathryn Grace 

      5 years ago from San Francisco

      @DreyaB: I know what you mean.

    • DreyaB profile image

      DreyaB 

      5 years ago from France

      @ecogranny: Yes, it's certainly getting that way! I have so many Amazon wish lists it's starting to get a little silly! ;0)

    • ecogranny profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathryn Grace 

      5 years ago from San Francisco

      @DreyaB: Is your list miles long, like mine? I've finally started adding them to my Pinterest board, so I can find the reviews that sparked my interest.

    • DreyaB profile image

      DreyaB 

      5 years ago from France

      I haven't read it, but this sound just like my cup of tea. Another to add to my 'want to read' list. Thanks so much for introducing me to it. Nice page too. :0)

    • ecogranny profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathryn Grace 

      5 years ago from San Francisco

      @GrammieOlivia: Thank you! So glad to have piqued your interest. If you read it, do come back and let me know what you think.

    • profile image

      GrammieOlivia 

      5 years ago

      Haven't read it yet, but that dog eared copy of yours has my curiosity! Great lens!

    • ecogranny profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathryn Grace 

      5 years ago from San Francisco

      @TreasuresBrenda: : )

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      5 years ago from Canada

      That's one well-read book! Silk Roads and Shadows sounds like an interesting story.

    • David3142 profile image

      David 

      5 years ago from West Midlands, England

      I like the look of this book. Thanks for sharing.

    • ecogranny profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathryn Grace 

      5 years ago from San Francisco

      @MJ Martin: Ruby, if ever you write reviews of some of those tattered books, do let me know, please, and thank you for stopping by.

    • MJ Martin profile image

      MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose 

      5 years ago from Washington State

      Oh yes, must have chocolate with any good book that gets devoured twice. I too have some tattered lovely old books I will reread again. Great review of this one I have never heard of.

    • ecogranny profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathryn Grace 

      5 years ago from San Francisco

      @ayannavenus: Oh, wonderful! Do come back and tell me if you are as enchanted with the story as I, or whatever you may think of it. Thank you for your visit. I see you are new to Squidoo, so welcome! I'm off to read your "Baking with Potatoes" page. Intriguing title.

    • ayannavenus profile image

      ayannavenus 

      5 years ago

      I haven't read this book but I am going to now. A good review and like the fact that you've cherished your copy thats a recommendation in itself.

    • ecogranny profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathryn Grace 

      5 years ago from San Francisco

      @Colin323: Colin, I don't believe we've "met" here on Squidoo before, so welcome to my tiny corner of Squidoo and thank you for kindly comment. I look forward to getting to know you here in the pond.

    • profile image

      Colin323 

      5 years ago

      I really liked the attractive layout of this lens and the way you included an extract from the book. The fact that you have cherished this book for so long is recommendation in itself.

    • ecogranny profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathryn Grace 

      5 years ago from San Francisco

      @Diana Wenzel: Thank YOU for the being the first to stop by and comment. I always appreciate your support and thoughtful comments.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      5 years ago from Colorado

      This is a new book for me. Loved your description of how this book has, and still does, transport you. Any book that can lure one, immerse one, time and time again is a rare gem and feat of literary prowess. Pretty hard combination to beat... chocolates and fine literature. Thanks for introducing me to Silk Roads and Shadows.

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