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Silk Road

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  3,775 ratings  ·  245 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 4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,775 ratings  ·  245 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
Claire Turner
May 22, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is such a lovely story.
I've become hung up on the history of the Silk Road(s) and those who lived and traded along these routes. In searching for other works I cam upon this and although a novel, I couldn't stop myself: my weekend reading. I am becoming a lady of leisure.
An adventure-romance set in the days of the Mongol Empire: a Christian Knight escorts a papal emissary on a long and dangerous journey across Persia in the hope of converting the infidels. Along the way, the knight meets up
Nov 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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
May 09, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having just finished reading, ‘The Silk Roads: A New History of the World’, Professor Frankopan’s account of things back then, this was a rather jolly read.
A love story, in an uncertain age: and not what I expected.
It does point a censuring finger at the shackles that religion (Christianity to the largest part) does have on the development of a civilisation. Something Professor Frankopan is not shy of highlighting.
Undoubtedly a good amount of research is behind this tale and I do imagine that an
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.
Denisa Arsene
Oct 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
What an amazing writing. Exotic culture and customs. History. Love. Adventure. Religion. War. Everything one's needs for a great experience. The melting of its ingredients is made with an easy storyteller style.
The book keeps you inside, a prisoner of its action. One feels the story as a real part of them.
I really recommend it!
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* ...more
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 ...more
George E. Knopf
Nov 03, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A great knowledge of history by the author. His writing paints a picture of events enabling the reader to place themself into the story line,
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
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.
Richard Myers
Feb 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book

So many characters, so many descriptions of far away places, so much intrigue and political back and forth! I had to pace my reading so that I could make the book last longer. I will be reading the rest of Colin Falconer’s books.
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
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
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
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 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
Jan 12, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a little hard to read because I could not keep track of all the characters, just like Game of Thores. I stopped reading that book, for the same reason. But it did keep me on the reading so that I could finish the book.

Pay close attention to be able to keep track of everybody in the book.
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
Oct 31, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A great read and more,the ending is perfect!!

Treat yourself to a book that is entertaining beyond measure.

Excited to start. My next book in the series!
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
Pauline Delaney
Apr 30, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a good storyline

Once again I've read past my bedtime. I find once I start reading I can't put the Kindle down till I've finished the book! CF is a very descriptive writer. You can imagine being there. A story of Knight's Templar and a delusional priest. The priest William wants to convert the Mongolian empire. The Templar knows it's futile. The two have an up and down friendship and together find themselves having all sorts of adventures, most are unpleasant and dangerous.
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! ...more
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.
Apr 28, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A wonderful read. My understanding of the ‘Silk Road’ was, until reading this, a main highway through East-Asia travelled by ‘traders’ in the years post the Buddha and ‘Before Christ’. I found this magical; the scenery, the land, the peoples, the cultures, and all wrapped around what is a romance.
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Colin Falconer writes historical adventure thrillers, which reflect his passion for history and travel.

His popular EPIC ADVENTURE series includes the bestselling SILK ROAD. His latest adventure thriller is FEVER COAST.

Colin draws inspiration from many periods of history and, in the words of one reader, ‘lets you travel around the world sampling the heights and depths of the human condition as wel

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“They found him in the cloister, lying on his back with ice in his beard. He was half conscious, muttering about a Templar knight, a secret commission from the Pope, and a beautiful woman on a white pony.” 0 likes
“His fellow monks carried him back to his cell and laid him on the hard cot that had been his bed for the last twenty years. He was an old man now and there was nothing to be done. His eyes had the cold sheen of death. A brother went to fetch the abbot so that the old fellow might make his last confession.” 0 likes
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