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Prayer of the Dragon (Inspector Shan #5)

4.21  ·  Rating Details ·  549 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
Praise for the Shan series:

“Nothing I’ve read or seen about how China has systematically crushed the soul of Tibet has been as effective. . . . A thriller of laudable aspirations and achievements.”—Chicago Tribune

“Shan becomes our Don Quixote. . . . Set against a background that is alternately bleak and blazingly beautiful, this is at once a top-notch thriller and a subs
Hardcover, 396 pages
Published December 1st 2007 by Soho Crime (first published January 1st 2007)
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I love this addition to the series about a former Beijing detective, Shan, exiled in Tibet. His empathies lead him to volunteer his skills on cases that help rural Tibetans is desperate straits in the face of Chinese government forces of corruption and cultural repression. As with the other 2 of the 6 in the series I’ve read, the novel show a good balance between character and a plot-driven strengths in the narrative while at the same time excelling in rendering a great sense of place and histor ...more
Apr 03, 2011 Sophie rated it it was amazing
Spoilers follow.

Oh :( The last time I suffered as much while reading something was when I was reading "First against the wall". My favorite part of these books is the friendship of Shan and Lokesh, and to see that friendship disturbed was very painful to read. And that Shan decides to leave Gendun and Lokesh in the end makes a certain amount of sense but it saddens me.

Still, this book was good. And thinking about it, I have to admire Pattison for writing in such a way that you really seem to fe
Sep 23, 2008 Kyle rated it it was amazing
Nice little mystery that delves into the problem between Tibet and China. Though it's not an in depth, high level political drama, it does touch on the heart and soul of the struggle of it's people. Shan, the main character, was once a senior level investigator for the Chinese government, but was sent to prison for being too good at his job. there he befriends and learns the way of tibetan monks. The story centers around a stranger found nearly dead by a Tibetan village. Shan is compelled to sol ...more
Oct 12, 2014 ShiraHE rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a platonic Chinese love story disguised as a Tibetan/Navajo murder mystery, which manages to make excellent social and world commentary while being a rivetting story.

"you live in a fairy world" -how many times have I heard this (in 4 languages)! Now, I feel vindicated. And yes, the cost is high, but in the end, worth it.
Today's 'normal' date is: Sun Nov 02 2014
Today's U.N. Date is: Thursday, November 2. 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era)
Este libro es la historia de un amor
Mar 31, 2008 Kate rated it it was amazing
It's not often that I start reading a book over again right after finishing it, but that's what I'm doing with this one. Eliot Pattison writes about Tibet in such a way that my heart aches, not only for the Tibetans, but also because I feel such a strong resonance for how the Tibetans live and experience life.

A good mystery that kept my guessing all the way to the end, as well as a strong proposal for the American Navajos and the Tibetans having common ancestry. As usual, Mr. Pattison's writing
Jun 24, 2008 Eileen rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It was deep and complex. I love stories about more ancient spiritualities, as I practice one type myself. Navaho and Tibetan spirituality, Wow!
I never did figure out who the murderer was until the end. And Pattison keeps you guessing. You think you have it figured out, and he throws something else in there. You get a glimpse a couple of times, but you never get that, "Aha, I've figured it out." feeling. I will definitely read more of Pattison's work.
Roxanne Gonzalez
Apr 10, 2013 Roxanne Gonzalez rated it it was amazing
Once again Inspector Shan gives us a book that not only provides a murder(s) to solve, but shows the suffering of the Tibetan people. I could not put this book down. It stands next to The Skull Mantra in its spellbinding story.
Jan 21, 2010 Sandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, china, tibet
If you have any interest in Tibet and the current assult on the culture by the Chinese, or if you just want to read a terrific, mesmerizing mystery, pick this one up.... It is really brilliant!
Sally Sugarman
Dec 24, 2016 Sally Sugarman rated it really liked it
This is a complex book in terms of its mystery, but also of the culture and the characters. The detective is Shan Tao Yun, a former Bejing investigator who is on leave from a Tibetan work camp where he had been sent as a punishment. Fifth in a series of nine books about Inspector Shan, this one finds him summoned by his secret monk friends Gendun and Lokesh to prevent a comatose man from being condemned to death for murders he has not committed. The two men have helped Shan heal from the horrors ...more
Dec 01, 2016 Tomi rated it it was ok
This might have been better if I knew more about Tibetian customs and the Chinese treatment of Tibet. I had trouble following the story line because of my lack of knowledge and the way the book mixed ancient religious beliefs and Chinese politics.
"Omit needless words," wrote William Strunk Jr. in The Elements of Style. It is a dictum that Eliot Pattison could profit by following. He seems to suffer from diarrhea of the pen or word processor. Words pour forth in great profusion, often repetitively and to very little effect. The words do not really seem to advance the narrative or provide enlightenment. They simply occupy space on the page. One would think that Pattison is being paid by the word.

Not only is he overly wordy but Pattison has
Wendy Kendall
Nov 02, 2014 Wendy Kendall rated it liked it
This book will transport you and immerse you into the geography and culture of Tibet, and it will give you a mystery to solve. There have been two men murdered at a remote mountain shrine, and their hands cut off and taken.

Shan Tao Yun was an investigator in Beijing. He was exiled by the government to Tibet. Shan travels to a remote Tibetan village where an unconscious man is being held as the guilty party in the murders of two men. Shan is accompanied by his dear friends, the illegal lamas (gur
Jan 02, 2017 Rhonda rated it really liked it
This is not my favorite of the series, but I still enjoyed getting lost in it. As always there is great evocation of modern Tibet, struggling to hold onto its culture amidst the Chinese occupation. I was sorry that Lokesh and Gendun became mere ancillary characters and there was less illustration of the transformative power of Tibetan Buddhism. Though Lokesh and Gendun do show great compassion towards those who treat them badly, it is only discussed second hand. The correlations between ancient ...more
Sylvia Stocker
Aug 03, 2013 Sylvia Stocker rated it liked it
I got this out of the library thinking it was new (to me) in Pattison's Inspector Shan series, but I discovered I had already read it. Nonetheless, I read it again.

In his first book in this series, Pattison establishes an interesting plot line with his inspector -- a Chinese detective who has been disgraced and sent to Tibet to prison camp. There he befriends some imprisoned Tibetan monks and together they solve a mystery and are allowed to go free from prison. Shan stays with his Tibetan monk f
Catherine Davison
was reading this in German but the American English was too close to the surface.
Shan Tao Yun was an investigator in Beijing when he finds himself in an isolated village where he finds a man who is being held for the murders of two other men. The man is a Navajo who has traveled to Tibet with his niece who hopes to prove that Tibetan people and the Navajo are ancient relatives. She is studying the old religious practices and symbols. Two of their companions are murdered and the niece is gone. The man, Hostene, is accused of murdering his companions.

Shan tries to discover who
Jan 24, 2013 Snap rated it liked it
I've been holding on to PRAYER OF THE DRAGON (and one more in the series) just waiting for Eliot Pattison to write another. Thank goodness he has, and I can catch up. I love this series. It is so different from any of my other favorite series mysteries -- although I am thinking I'm finding a certain pattern -- I like the odd! Inspector Shan is an exiled Chinese national, a former Beijing investigator who has spent time in a Tibetan work camp. While he was imprisoned there he became friends with ...more
Jun 10, 2008 Marsha rated it really liked it
Another in the series about former party member Detective Shan and his llama friends as they journey physically and spiritually through Tibet. The llama is summoned to a poor remote mountain village when two men are found murdered on the road above the village. A third man, although unconscious, is determined to be the killer by the village headman, despite no conclusive evidence of his guilt. As the llamas pray over the man, Shan starts piecing together the evidence upsetting the "order" and "p ...more
Jul 27, 2013 J rated it liked it

I can't get enough of Eliot Pattison, and yet I have to pace himself. His stories are very dense (complex in subtle ways). I just can't read them fast; I also have to ponder them for a while.

This one is not my favorite, yet I liked it.

As ever, the physical descriptions of Tibet are so vivid they transport.

Shan (the former Beijing investigator who went to Tibet prison camp and is now paroled, reamining in Tibet) faces a curious mix of America
Jan 13, 2016 Pam rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
This book takes the reader much deeper into social issues than you would expect of a mystery novel. The series is set in Tibet, where the protagonist is a disgraced Chinese police inspector, who has spent time in a Tibet gulag and is then unofficially released without papers. He lives hidden in the mountains with two Tibetan lamas, who have also been unofficially released from the same gulag.

This book teaches the reader about the current political and social situation in Tibet, the linkages bet
Sep 12, 2010 Booknblues rated it really liked it
This is the 5th book of the Inspector Shan series.
In this one Shan attempts to clear a Navajo man of murder. Lokesh and Gendun are in a village which is in great need of spiritual salvation, but by being there their lives are in danger.
This village is located on a strange mountain which has great spiritual mysteries, a military base and a great deal of gold.
Shan must unweave this web to save the Navajo man and the monks he loves so much.
He finds that he must better understand his place in the wo
Apr 19, 2008 Pat rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
A good mystery from an author new to me. This is a very present-day book based in Tibet with an "outcast" Chinese protagonist. It brings up some interesting parallels in spirituality and spiritual practices between what most people would consider two totally different cultures - not Tibet and China, there's another culture involved here that I won't get into because I don't want to spoil the book. There is also some insight into both the present-day Tibetan and Chinese cultures, so very pertinen ...more
Kristena West
Jan 28, 2014 Kristena West rated it it was amazing
I love all inspector Chan mysteries, they go beyond what one would expect. I am always so grateful that the traditions of Buddhism are part of the story line and some of the hidden mysteries are revealed. The problems that Chan faces as a "hidden" Buddhist ex Chinese investigator, are filled with tragedy and moral challenges that hopefully I will never have to face.

In writing these expose's on what China is doing to the Tibetans' Pattison supports the efforts of everyone who is trying to help t
Jeff Mitchell
Sep 28, 2009 Jeff Mitchell rated it liked it
This was the follow-up book to the The Skull Mantra. The book is also a mystery novel with the same primary characters. Again, I enjoyed the pace of Pattison's writing. As expected, this book was essentially a continuation of Pattison's first mystery novel. I enjoyed the first book more and thought that by this second book, Pattison's story had become too predictable. Still, an enjoyable quick read.
Tom Gorski
Apr 01, 2014 Tom Gorski rated it really liked it
Blending a story that expresses the spirituality of both Buddhism in Tibet and that of the Navaho (Dine')of the American Southwest, Pattison has created a wonderful read as his oft internally and externally tortured hero, Shan, navigates his way to a solution. In some ways there is a reflection of Tony Hillerman in Pattison's Shan series as, with both writers, nature in the end seems to be directly involved in the resolution.
May 12, 2008 Matriarchy rated it really liked it
I have very much enjoyed this Inspector Shan series. This particular book was not as strong as some of the previous installments, but I still enjoyed it quite a bit. It lagged in the middle, and I guessed most of the outcome a little too early. The comparisons between Navajo and early Tibetan culture were fascinating.
Dec 18, 2009 Breeze rated it it was amazing
I have read all of Eliot Pattison's books and they never fail to move me. A chilling picture of modern day Tibet under the brutality of China's rule. Pattison weaves mysteries that seem impossible of solution and finds the abiding and resonant threads that bind the Tibetan people to their rich past.
Apr 18, 2008 Maralena rated it really liked it
Characteristically (of EP's books, not my reading), I found it hard to pay attention to the characters and the plot of this novel. I wish so much that the author would include some diagrams or pictures. I can't quite make out all the beauty it seems he can see so clearly in his head.
Also, if this is the last book he writes about these characters, it will make me sad.
Apr 16, 2009 Chris rated it liked it
I had read two of the previous books but found this one hard going initially. The first 45 pages drag but then the plot takes off. Shan is the man and the idea of linking Tibet and the Navajo Nation was intriguing, however, the shaman stuff gets a little perplexing and boring at times.
May 22, 2015 Pat rated it really liked it
What's not to like? Saintly Tibetan lamas, mysteries on several levels, and Shan struggling to unite heart and mind into a way forward in a demon infested landscape, where the demons are large as mountains and deep as heart's desire.
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Edgar Award winning Eliot Pattison has been described as a "writer of faraway mysteries," a label which is particularly apt for someone whose travel and interests span a million miles of global trekking, visiting every continent but Antarctica.

An international lawyer by training, Pattison first combined his deep concerns for the people of Tibet with his interest in fiction writing in The Skull Ma
More about Eliot Pattison...

Other Books in the Series

Inspector Shan (9 books)
  • The Skull Mantra (Inspector Shan, #1)
  • Water Touching Stone (Inspector Shan, #2)
  • Bone Mountain (Inspector Shan, #3)
  • Beautiful Ghosts (Inspector Shan, #4)
  • The Lord of Death (Inspector Shan, #6)
  • Mandarin Gate (Inspector Shan, #7)
  • Soul of the Fire (Inspector Shan, #8)
  • Skeleton God (Inspector Shan, #9)

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