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Silk Road

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  857 Ratings  ·  84 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 June 28th 2001)
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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
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
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
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*
Sezinur Balıkçıoğlu
Colin Falconer'ın okuduğum ikinci kitabı ....iyi bir tarihi roman yazarı Falconer...
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 thr
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.
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
Oct 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un muy buen libro sobre la época de los cruzados hacia el año 1260 que narra la intención de los cristianos de aliarse con los mongoles, nueva potencia mundial, para derrotar y expulsar a los sarracenos de Tierra Santa.
La misión de un embajador del Papa y una escolta asignada que debe atravesar casi toda Asia, por la ruta de la seda, para establecer la alianza hace que se mezclen dos culturas antagonistas y es muy interesante conocer un poco más de los mongoles y la herencia dejada por Genhis Ka
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.
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,
Jennifer (JC-S)
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: librarybooks
‘When we begin any journey, we cannot know where that road may lead us. Obstacles fall across the way and force us to other paths. It is the way of things.’

Early in 1260 AD, news of the death of the Great Khan, Mӧngke Khan four months earlier reaches Qaidu, khan of the high steppes, in the Fergana Valley where his headstrong daughter Khutelun has bested yet another suitor. A world away, in Acre, Josseran Sarrazini is commissioned by Thomas Bérard, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, to chaperon
Tom B
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
* spoilers ahead*
The last few months I've been doing a lot of 'shelf clearing reading'; books by Grisham, Baldacci, all bought second-hand and under the notion that these were good writers. Having read a lot of their books, I only keep reading them for the hope of finding one that rises above the 2/3 star ratings I've been giving them so far.
I've also been buying a lot of historical fiction, because that's a genre I really like. Given the unsatisfactory books by the writers above, I decided to
Nick Phillips
Apr 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having come across some truly awful pieces of historical fiction (21st Century morals, voices and concerns being one of the most common flaws) I always approach a new;y discovered author with some trepidation. Fortunately here it took all of two pages to get completely drawn in. The thirteenth century is not somewhere that I have previously visited in literature and this novel brought the period to life with stunning detail. The setting feels alive throughout, the sounds and smells and sights al ...more
Joanne Fish
Interesting but disappointing

The length of the book did not deter me. We've all read books where we didn't want them to end. For me this book ended at chapter 71. The descriptions of the Silk Road, where it traversed, how far it really was were the highlights of this story. I had to frequently look up the names of ancient cities to see where they actually existed. The journey itself was a tortuous one with changing landscape. I didn't realize how vast it was. And for me, this was the best part o
Kerry Hennigan
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
William is a Dominican priest who, on his deathbed, makes a long confession. His story, of a journey far into the east, along the fabled Silk Road, takes place in 1260, in the company of a Templar knight for his protection. But the Templar, Josseran, has been charged with another, clandestine mission - to forge an alliance between the Christians of Outremer and the Tartars against a common foe. The fate of the last remnants of the Frankish kingdom in the Holy Land rests on the outcome.

Between th
Venetia Green
Aug 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book deserves a full 5 points for depth and credibility of historical research. As I read I felt as if I was riding across the Silk Road myself astride an ugly Tatar pony, frozen by Himalayan snow and blasted by Taklimakan sand, eating nothing but boiled mutton and drinking mare's-milk booze. Wonderful stuff, and quite unforgettable.
The main reason I shied off a five-star rating was Falconer's characterisation. While Josseran the Templar makes a very likeable hero, I found the character of
Cindy Woods
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This is such an interesting read! Full of historical facts, this novel is well worth reading despite numerous typographical errors. Although that was a point of irritation, the humor woven throughout the storyline is worth every misspelling, typo and grammatical flaw. I found myself openly laughing and reading comic passages to family members who might listen!
The Silk Road refers to the ancient trade route from China to Jerusalem. The book covers the religions, politics, customs and t
Oct 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 eere personal hardships crossing the deserts and the mountains on the Silk Road. There was great humor in the face of adversity, and there ...more
Irene Adam
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I received an advance review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is an epic tale of a journey along the Silk Road in an attempt to negotiate a union with the Tatars against the Saracens and an attempt to convert the Khan of the Mongolian empire to Christianity during the 13th century Crusades. The author depicts the brutality, violence, and excesses of the era and culture with brutal honesty giving the reader insight into the Mongolian and Chinese lifestyle. The author’s des ...more
Dec 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
I feel like this was the perfect book to read right after Shogun because now I'm finally ready to continue with books that are not about Asia. Shantaram, Shogun and Silk Road have actually a lot in common but still at the extend in which you first fall in love with one of them and you're trying desperatly to find something like that again and you're just kind of being kept alive by the other two (lol). All of them are about a white man going to a new place and culture he knows almost nothing abo ...more
Paul Burnette
Jun 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
1259-1260 A.D.'s epic journey. Josseran, a Knight Templar is assigned to protect William of Augsburg, a pompous emissary from the Pope to the prince of the Tatars, the Great Khan.
Khutelun, daughter of a lesser khan, is assigned to escort William and Josseran on their journey from Acre to the Khan’s capital.
Khutelun and Josseran each believe their journey will end in Persia, but it extends much farther than that. They also fall in love. Both are strong-willed and highly skilled. Both are caught i
Danielle Bonam
Could Have Done Without the Last Female Death...

This story was fascinating. Complete not what I expected when I glanced at the summary. With so many crusading books out there, this take was enjoyable and beyond the same beaten path. Silk Road touched on cultures and religions that most western historical fiction books don't pay heed to. The deaths and tortures in this book, while accurate, were brutal. I could have done without the death of the Chin princess but it was just a part of the story
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“I was 18 years old, I’d just left school and got a job in London, working in an insurance company. I was working inside - in an office! My mother thought that was like being CEO of Shell Oil.

“I was late one morning, I took a short cut through the church yard to the station to catch my train. I’d just finished reading The Sun Also Rises the night before; and here I was looking at all these gravest
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