Friday, February 28, 2014

The Skull Mantra by Eliot Pattison


They called it taking four. The tall, gaunt monk hovered at the lip of the five-hundred-foot cliff, nothing restraining him but the raw Himalayan wind. Shan Tao Yun squinted at the figure to see better. His heart clenched, It was Trinle who was going to jump---Trinle, his friend, who just that morning had whispered a blessing on Shan's feet so they would not trample insects.
Shan dropped his wheelbarrow and ran.

Title: The Skull Mantra
Author: Eliot Pattison
ISBN: 9780312204785
Publisher: St. Martin's Minotuar/1999
Pages: 403

It is one of those novels which took me into a spiritual journey. Deep into the world of Tibetan priests, Buddhist monks, Yerpas, and the psyche of the people. And politics. The resolute of the Tibetan people to be free from China. The fight that is never ending. The way they die for it without a word. Unbending. 

Shan Tao Yun, a chinese investigator, has been put in one of the Chinese labour camps for a past misdemeanor. He has many Tibetan priests in his camp. When a headless body is found near the place they are working, Shan's help is sought to solve the murder. However, no one is interested to find the real killer but to put the blame on a Buddhist priest. Everyone wants Shan to endorse to that or the priests in his work brigade would be punished. 

Shan finds outs about ancient Buddhist demon, an illegal monastery, sects working secretly for Tibet and people who will not bend even in the face of death. There is this American involvement too in the way of mining interests. The reader gets pulled into the religious and political maelstroms.

I highly recommend it for all those who want to learn about a religious belief, a country in another country, about people who won't give and above all, for a spiritual experience. I related to it because Dalai Lama lives in India. In Dharmshala, Himachal Pradesh. I have visited his abode although I have not seen him. And because I am a Hindu. 

6 comments:

cmoh said...

OH my gosh what a great share. I want to know why he is jumping. I am always interested in other cultures and religions I am going to have to check this one out.

Hugs
Caroline

Lindsay said...

That's a breathtaking opening! I hope you enjoy this book.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

What a great beginning that raises so many questions. Will he jump? Why does he want to jump? Sounds like a thrilling story.
Here's the link to my Friday post: WILD.

Elisa Bergslien said...

Wow - that sounds fascinating. I have to say it reminds me vaguely of Name of the Rose. I will have to add it to my TBR list.

Hazel Lee said...

Ooooh, mysterious! I've always been interested in learning more about the Tibetan monks and the religion. Definitely adding it to my TBR list! Thanks for sharing! =)

stacybuckeye said...

Jason reads lots about and by the Dalai Lama. Very cool that you've been able to visit where he lives.