Book Reviews

The Map of Lost Memories by Kim Fay

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List Price: £13.99

 

Paperback: 336 Pages.

Published: 16 August 2012 by Hodder & Stoughton

ISBN: 1444738097

EAN: 9781444738094

The one thing to remember about an adventure is that if it turns out the way you expect it to, it has not been an adventure at all . . .

Shanghai, 1925.

Irene, a museum curator (and, unofficially, a treasure hunter) is searching for a set of legendary copper scrolls which describe the forgotten history of Cambodia's ancient Khmer civilisation.

Her mentor has sent her to China to enlist the help of Simone, a mercurial Frenchwoman who - along with her notoriously violent husband, 'the most dangerous man in the Orient' - has a reputation for both stealing artifacts and starting revolutions.

Irene and Simone set off through the Cambodian jungle to search for the scrolls, but it soon becomes clear that each is determined to acquire them for her own reasons, and that once they have located them it will be every woman for herself . . .

Reviews

4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars  by Anne

Not a Dan Brown clone and better for it ...

The blurb and publicity for this book gave the impression that it was a cross between a Dan Brown novel and "Raiders of the Lost Ark". If that is what you are looking for then you will be disappointed by this novel which is a pity because it is a very well written book of a very different kind.

This is a book about the Far East in the 1920s and particularly Cambodia. Irene is a museum curator who has been passed over for a top job solely because of her sex. She gets hold of evidence about where 10 copper scrolls are hidden in Cambodia and seeks to find then in order to establish her reputation and to show the men who demoted her what she can do. She travels first to China where she enlists the dubious help of Simone who also wants the scrolls but for different reasons. Simone is a very troubled woman who is hooked on drugs and who wants the scrolls to start a revolution to free East Asia from French rule.

This book deals in many themes - sexism, the drug culture, French influence and the evils of Imperialism, the ownership of historic relics, the Communist influence in China, and self-determinism. The author brilliantly creates a sense of the times from the all pervasive drugs to the political unrest, to the climate of the countries and the difficulties of the journey. Irene, and her friends, change their views and their motivation as the journey progresses and as they experience the country and its people.

This is not a fast paced action filled book. It is a contemplative, slow developing but fascinating story set very much in its place and time. Itis full of interesting characters and information about the historical past of the area and gives no direct answers. The author does not fall into the trap of imposing current ideology on characters and a story set nearly 100 years ago and leaves the reader a lot to think about. A clever and thoughtful read.

 
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