An unlikely group of outcasts dash across the remote northern reaches of the Tibetan plateau, summoned by the news that a venerated school teacher has been murdered and an ancient lama is missing. The two old Tibetans are rushing to restore the spiritual balance caused by the violent death. The sullen Tibetan resistance fighter is racing to battle a new foe. But Shan Tao Yun, the exiled former investigator from Beijing, just released from four years in the gulug, has set out to find justice, an elusive goal among the embittered and forgotten people of western China. One moment experiencing the serene reverence of an ancient shrine, the next feeling the horror of being buried alive in the desert, Shan encounters the many faces of courage found among oppressed peoples. Ultimately Shan's answer can be found only by revealing still greater tragedies, and justice, in the rough form he has come to expect in Tibet, is available only if he is able to piece the hatred and distrust that has been bred by Beijing's rule.
Eliot Pattison is the author of "The Skull Mantra," which won the Edgar Award and was a finalist for the "Gold Dagger," as well "Water Touching Stone" and "Bone Mountain." Pattison is a world traveler and frequent visitor to China, and his numerous books and articles on international policy issues have been published around the world.