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Silk Road

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  1,781 ratings  ·  155 reviews
1260 AD: Josseran Sarrazini is a man divided in his soul. A Christian Knight Templar haunted by a shameful past, he hopes to find redemption in a dangerous crusade: a journey from Palestine to Xanadu, to form a crucial allegiance against the Saracens at the legendary court of Kubilai Khan - the seat of the Mongol Empire.
Instead he finds the solace he seeks in a warrior-pri
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published October 1st 2011 by Atlantic Books (first published 2000)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,781 ratings  ·  155 reviews

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Oct 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These are the kinds of historical fiction books I dream of. Richly detailed, well researched, a natural harmony between dialogue and non dialogue - never being too much of one or the other - a lesson in history and some engaging characters thrown in. Oh, and I am a little partial to journey stories too. They are one of my favourite ways for an author to channel an historical adventure story.
These are all facets that I look for in an historical fiction and if they hit the right points of balance
Bob Mayer
Nov 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really like reading historical novels; and nonfiction. I'm in the midst of a book I'll review shortly when I'm done, about the frontier, when it was here, just on the other side of the Appalachians.

But this book is about a time much earlier. And set in another part of the world. So in a way, it was interesting on both levels. I did have my google earth app open for a lot of this. Basically, it's set in 1361. The Mongol hordes are swarming from the East. The Pope sends a priest as his emissary
Nov 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Historical fiction lovers
Recommended to Anne by: Ancient and Medieval History group
Colin Falconer has written a fabulous book. Not only is it exciting and very readable it is also hard to put down. I have wanted to read it for quite a while but unable financially until the price was lowered to 99 cents which enabled me to buy it. From the start, I was mesmerized by Josseran's travels and felt I was truly with him and could actually smell the things he smelled, feel the hardness of a camel saddle(ouch), enjoy the fascinating people he met during the excruciatingly long trek alo ...more
I am always surprised when an adventure story that travels so far can gain my attention. These are not often books I enjoy enough to give more than 2 stars though the chance of finding one such as this keeps me reading.
It was fast, evocative and informative without being boring and I actually liked the crazy evil priest, he was a great character even though I hated him!
I didn't think the last 50-100 pages were as good as the rest, it got a little over dramatic.
I did like the very end though.
Helena Schrader
May 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-ages
“Silk Road” by Colin Falconer is well named because the silk road itself is the most complex, vivid and well-drawn character of the book. Falconer clearly did his research about the route itself – its changing geography and climates, and the diverse and fascinating people, who lived along it during the 13th century. His descriptions of the route itself are vivid, informative and evocative, as are his meticulous and convincing portrayals of Mongolian culture, life-style and politics in this perio ...more
Jan 31, 2015 rated it liked it
I just wrote a whole review on this and when I the last laptop highlighted the whole thing and I hit a button and was left with a lonely letter a in the whole box. I'm too mad at myself to rewrite it right now. had some good thoughts too. Something about Falconer being Chex Mix....I dunno. *sigh*
Apr 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
alternates between some truly awful prose and banal stereotype B-level action and some real exciting action (the Mongol/Crusade setting is a prop for a fairly modern action adventure story as the characters act like the caricature of the noble but flawed crusader, evil inquisitor etc etc); still greatly enjoyed in parts so better class of pulp reading; comparable with the standard genre sff action adventure except that it's swords and horses rather than spaceships and laser guns
Bryn Hammond
Apr 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: steppe-fiction
Ancient & Medieval group read.
The descriptions were tremendous and I felt much of the time I was in a finely-written travel book. I don’t mean that negatively. It’s what I enjoyed most, the travel along the Silk Road. I saw in this much of Marco Polo’s travels and the journeys of friars to the Mongol court in the 13th century – Friar William in the novel is just such a monk on embassy as his namesake, Friar William of Rubruck, who left an account and understood the cultures he blundered through
Oct 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
April A&M Group Read. This was my first experience with this author. The mechanics of good writing were excellent. The book was set during the Crusades era, and most of the action took place on the trade route that connected Asia with Europe and Africa. That route was better known as the Silk Road. The descriptions of the panorama were outstanding. There were personal hardships crossing the deserts and the mountains on the Silk Road. There was great humor in the face of adversity, and there was ...more
Viviane Crystal
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Josseran Sarrazini is a Christian Knight Templar who has a mission to guide a Dominican monk, William, to the far side of the world in what is present-day Beijing. It's the time of the Crusades in the 1200s and there is just as much in-fighting among the Christians as there is against the enemy Muslims who have captured and hold Jerusalem. The novel begins in Aleppo and covers for years the entire Silk Road from Palestine to Xanadu; not a day passes in which there is not unbridled adventure, mur ...more
Aug 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. It appears to be well researched I liked the main character Josseran. He is pledged to take a very unlike able priest to see the Tatar Kahn of Kahns. They think it will be a month long journey. It takes them six months to get there and they find themselves in the center of a civil war. Josseran, a catholic and a Templar who has been a crusader in the holy land for five years. He
is exposed to many other religious and philosophical points of view which make him question his o
Leonide Martin
Dec 18, 2013 rated it liked it
This book was not for me. Too much violence, brutality and cruelty. Once the Mongols were established as vicious and ruthless, why keep subjecting the reader to such excesses? Depictions of the filth and disgusting living conditions were overblown (one reviewer commented that hygiene in the time was better than described). Descriptions of geography were compelling, from mountains to desert and the Silk Road. I appreciate the research into Tatar society, and complexities of the plot in Kubilai Kh ...more
Jul 07, 2014 rated it liked it
While I deeply enjoyed the part regarding the travel and the different cultures, I would have happily renounced to the drama of the improbable love story. That made this book a 3 stars read instead of four.
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Great Reading

I recommend this book! The story is fabulous! It's around the year 1260, I learn with this book about the culture of the Tartars, their food, the way they live. The main character name is Josseran , he knows different languages and he always was willing to learn another language and learn the costume of the place he was visiting . In other word he had a lot of diplomacy. He is traveling to the Roof of the World with a Dominican fryer. Too many incredible adventures await for t
Laura Starzynski
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
DNF. Gonna call it on this one.

It's well written and the fast pacing is impressive considering it's about a long quest.

But I couldn't find a single part of me to like or care about the Templar knight, the Dominican priest, or even the Tatar warrior princess. Not who they were or what they were doing.

I tried.
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Meh. It was...ok. It took me forever to really get into the story and then it just dragged on and on and on. I was tempted to walk away from it repeatedly and didn’t because I had already committed so much time to it. But notice it took me three weeks to finish and that’s because there was just nothing about it that engaged me. Which is too bad because I’m wildly interested in the time period.
Dani Neumann
Apr 02, 2019 rated it liked it
I listened on audiobook and it took a while to get behind the narrator's voices. The beginning quarter felt really slow to me, then it picked up steam. This provided an interesting look into the Mongol's lifestyle. The characters were all very unique, with distinct personalities and motivations; it was clear how much research the author put into this tale. The Mongol culture is very different from any modern culture and some of the punishments/customs are difficult (brutal) to imagine. I enjoyed ...more
Mary Ann
Aug 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
I feel very satisfied about this book. A grand, rich look at a Westerner encountering the landscapes, people and cultures of the Far East. Historical fiction (1206) , and a great adventure story. Lots to think about -- people of very different cultures encounter each other with pre-formed ideas about what that other culture is. They question religious beliefs, gods, "rules" of the other. They marvel at the food, clothes, habits of the other. Some characters try to learn, others just dismiss. Lot ...more
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I usually don't like books with lots of view descriptions. This book, well, it totally amazed me! It's descriptions of nature, towns, people, ... was so real that i could imagine them so clearly in mind! Just like i was there in with Josseran and Khoutlon! And i could feel all of their feelings! A great historic-romantic story for who love adventure and romance at once!
May 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exotic and down to Earth

I loved this book, this brutal, yet wondrous clash of religions set within an equally brutal, wondrous geography. This is historical fiction at its best: researched, but "divinely" human; a love story where love becomes an ironic leap of faith and religious faith, a hallucination amid blowing sands.
Maya Morikawa
Sep 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Read this while travelling the Silk Road,so the towns were alive for me more than appeared in the book.
But the story was intriguing as I am sure many people's faiths were tested in those days.
Phill Featherstone
Josseran Sarrazini is a Templar Knight, trained for war but haunted by guilt from a sordid episode in his past. As the Christian garrisons in the Holy Land begin to fall to the Saracen, he must embark upon a mission of peace to the golden palaces at Xanadu to seek an alliance with Kubilai Khan, ruler of the greatest empire in history and commander of the invincible Mongol horde. He is accompanied by a narrow-minded priest who believes he has been sent by God to convert the Mongols to Christianit ...more
This novel is set in 1260: a priest and a Knight Templar attempt to travel to the heartland of the Mongol Empire to negotiate with them - only to find that that empire is fracturing as Genghis Khan's grandsons argue over the succession. They are journeying to lands that most 13th century Christians thought were semi-mythical, lands filled with people of many races and religions - and the priest cannot abide any of them. On the other hand, the Knight, Josseran has travelled more, speaks many lang ...more
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Adventure along the Roof of the World
This is an adventure of a disgraced Christian Templar knight who escorts a Roman Catholic priest on a mission to enlist the help of the Great Khan. The need the help to protect Jerusalem from the threat of the invading Saracen armies.
The characters are beautifully drawn and the details of the landscape and animals that populate this land are full of vivid descriptions that are enchanting. So many stories.
The historic Silk Road, populated along its path by
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Following finishing this book, I decided to read Peter Frankopan's non fiction history 'The Silk Roads'. At the time of writing this I've got no further than the preface in which Mr Frankopan remarks on the narrow history syllabus taught in Western schools. How right he is. This novel sent me time and again to Google to look up one thing or another for I have very little knowledge of world history beyond that of the UK and Europe and the USA. I knew vaguely that there was some one called Genghis ...more
Victor Carson
One of the best books I have read in the past five years. A spectacular setting, encompassing the last years of the Templar presence in the Holy Land, the seige of the Saracen stronghold at Aleppo by a Mongol Tatar army, and a civil war between Kublai Khan and his brother to become the Khan of Khans. The story follows a journey by a Templar Knight and a Dominican Friar from the Holy Land to Aleppo and from Aleppo, via the Silk Road over The Roof of the World, to China. The historical detail is i ...more
Apr 21, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good read if you like historical fiction in different contexts. Here it’s West meets East with a novel focus on the in-between Mongol empire.

The details of Mongol practices and challenges of travel are very evocative, and the description of place tries hard.

The main plot is written almost as a screenplay with epic set pieces spaced by transitional travel. Combined with the sub-plot of Dominican bigotry it might even support a box-set mini-series treatment. There are plenty of compelling twists
Hideous ending

I always hesitate before reading a book because I worry that the ending will be disappointing. This ending was not only disappointing but hideous with torture of a pregnant woman and her full-term baby. Remember that this is a work of fiction and the author chose every word. The ending had one shocking torture after another, each worse than the one before culminating with the gruesome death of an innocent woman who had endured tortured her whole life. Prior to the ending chapters,
Phyllis Stewart
Almost perfect but not quite

For someone who has published more than 50 books, there's really no excuse for not paying for a final line edit. A col is not the apex. A col is the depression between two high spaces instead. Dictionaries are free and there to be used. The quoted sentences should be correctly attributed to the two separate characters, not slapped within on line with an opposing character's line. Punctuation should be correctly written. Two periods instead of one, a comma next to a pe
Nadine Treece
Get A Proof Reader!!!

I have read a few of your books now and while the stories are pretty interesting in and of themselves, they are ruined by the constant interruption of missing words and letters!! Really takes away from the continuity of the story from the reader's stand point as you have to stop and go back and reread the sentence to try to make sense of it. I think that this, along with misspelled words, makes your books a less enjoyable experience. Good ideas, although there were some pla
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I write crime fiction and historical fiction. I’ve published twenty-six novels so far, and been lucky enough to have them translated into 23 languages. Real ones too, not just Esperanto and cockney rhyming slang.

My favourite character is DI Charlie George, who you may have met if you’ve read Lucifer Falls. Charlie was originally named after our two spaniels, Charlie and George. Charlie is the ext

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