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Temple of a Thousand Faces

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,248 ratings  ·  215 reviews
In his international bestseller Beneath a Marble Sky, John Shors wrote about the ancient passion, beauty, and brilliance that inspired the Taj Mahal. Now with Temple of a Thousand Faces, he brings to life the legendary temple of Angkor Wat, an unrivaled marvel of ornately carved towers and stone statues. There, in a story set nearly a thousand years ago, an empire is lost, ...more
Paperback, 544 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by NAL
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Aug 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Full disclosure: I'm the author!

But here are some independent reviews of my new novel, Temple of a Thousand Faces:

"An epic, extraordinary novel about love, beauty, and war, Temple of a Thousand Faces is sure to please." - Sandra Gulland, bestselling author of Mistress of the Sun

"Written in Shors' enjoyable style ... this novel is destined to be a blockbuster. Highly recommended." - Historical Novels Review

"A gripping love story with a mystical quality that is utterly beguiling. John Shors viv
Jill Preston
Oct 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky to get an early read of this novel (I review books from time to time). Temple of a Thousand Faces is everything I love in an epic work of historical fiction--ambitious, complex, unique, powerful, and unfogettable. I simply loved this novel.
Temple of a Thousand Faces wasn't bad, it just wasn't for me. I'm sure it was quite realistic about the fates of a conquered people in Cambodia in the 12th Century. Based on the title, that's not the story I was expecting. I somehow thought it was going to be about something besides conquering, pillaging, raping and slaughtering. It was really much darker and more desperate than I like, as the story was told from the perspectives of several different people who were affected by the pillaging, ra ...more
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
Set in 12th century Cambodia, John Shors unfolds the tale of the capture of Angkor Wat and the battle between the Cham and Khmer people. I cannot believe I have waited so long to haul this book off my bookshelf because it was a compelling historical fiction that I fell in love with instantly. I have not read any books about Cambodia and I don't think I have been so captured by a novel since reading Beneath a Marble Sky which just happens to have been Shors debut novel. Just an absolutely gorgeo ...more
Mar 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
Timing in life is everything. Read this one on my way to visit Angkor Wat in Cambodia, which is the site for this historical novel, which is set in the late 12th century when the temple is overrun by the warring Chams, and the local Khmer prince has to go into hiding with his lover as his entire family is slaughtered. Besides having to rally his people, now King Jaymar has to align himself with the Siams, and befriend a Cham military leader who falls in love with a Khmer. Excellent characters, s ...more
Feb 05, 2013 marked it as maybe
Recommended to Bettie by: Wanda
Watch the reviews and ratings
May 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
No matter where he takes us, he gives us a rich story

John Shors travels. That fact is certain. Not only does he travel to the exotic places from which his intricate and exhilarating novels are seeded, but he obviously travels to the libraries that hold the compendium of historical data with which he embroiders his tales. This is his seventh novel, and with each new novel his maturity as an artist grows.

The dependable factor in owning and reading a John Shors book is that in addition to weaving a
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Found the characters to be too sappy, with overly lengthy sections of dialog repeating their devotion to one another. Felt that the novel would've benefited from tighter editing to make the story more compact and faster paced. Was also looking for more description of the historical setting, but the author chooses to focus on character interaction. Animals are randomly thrown into the middle of conversations for no apparent reason. Eg 'A snake glided through the dense undergrowth.' or 'A carp fli ...more
Deborah Pickstone
This delightful author's personality shines through in his writing - yes, that is an assumption but John Shors gave me the rare experience of being both deeply engaged in his story and believing, at the same time, that I could hear him thinking. I would rarely make any attempt to say I know anything about an author but if JS is not an optimist, a romantic and does not truly like women I will eat every hat I possess! I gave the book to a friend and she had much the same reaction.

Don't get the ide
Jan 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm so happy I got this book from First Reads. I really enjoyed the story. I had a hard time putting it down, I wanted to know what was going to happen. I didn't know anything about Angkor Wat before, now I really want to go and visit the Echo Chamber. I also enjoy how John Shor has a way of making the surroundings come to life along with his characters. It adds another layer to the story. I could see the jungle, hear the monkeys, and feel the heat. Really good book. Thanks, First Reads!
Janet Freeman
Dec 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read John Shors' Beneath a Marble Sky, loved it, and was hoping that Temple of a Thousand Faces would be spun from the same cloth. It was. This is an epic, beautiful novel. Historical fiction at its best.
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have always been fascinated by the magnificent temples of Angkor Wat. This book transported me to 12th century Cambodia and gave me a little travel bug- I hope to see the place soon but for now I explored the splendid architecture and the beautiful landscape through the eyes of the author.

The story is like a fairy take, an evil Cham king Indravarman leads a surprise attack against the Khymers and capture & pillage their capital city killing thousands. Fortunately, the Khymer prince Jayavar and
Feb 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Summary: When his land is taken by force in 1177, Prince Jayavar of the Khmer people narrowly escapes death at the hands of the conquering Cham king. Exiled from their homeland, he and his wife Ajadevi set up a secret camp in the jungle with the intention of amassing an army bold enough to reclaim their kingdom and free their people. Meanwhile, Cham King Indravarman rules with an iron fist, pitting even his most trusted men against each other and squashing any hint of rebellion.

This isn’t the fi
Darlene Matule
Dec 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love history and long novels that take time to tell the stories of multiple characters. "Temple of a Thousand Faces" not only fits that bill, but makes the reader eager for more.

In "Beneath a Marble Sky" I became engrossed in previously unknown historical details of India, a county that had entranced me since the 6th grade when I first studied the Taj Mahal.

This latest historical novel from John Shors brings the Khmers, builders of the famed Angkor Wat in what is now Cambodia, and the invading
Diana Suddreth
Mar 02, 2013 rated it liked it
There were things I really liked about this book and I know many people enjoy it, but there were also aspects that got in the way of my rating it higher. I liked the setting, one that is unfamiliar to me and therefore exotic. On the other hand, the author didn't bring Angkor Wat alive in a way that made me want to visit any more than I aleady do nor did the the temple play a prominent enough role in the story to really matter. Most of the plot could have taken place anywhere. Perhaps this is bec ...more
Steve Piacente
Oct 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It took 30 years to build Angkor Wat, but centuries for someone to write a novel that truly captures the ancient capital of the Khmer Empire in Cambodia.

Men and elephants did the heavy lifting back in the first half of the 12th Century, constructing a timeless complex dedicated to the Hindu Gods Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. Still standing, still awe-inspiring, Angkor draws more than a million international visitors a year.

Author John Shors also faced a prodigious architectural challenge in writing
My Book Addiction and More MBA
TEMPLE OF A THOUSAND FACES by John Shors is an interesting historical fiction set in 1177. 12th century Angkor Wat is reflected in an epic tale of danger,revenge,hate,love,survival,heartbreak,tyranny,betrayal and romance. Prince Jayavar and Ajadevi find themselves on a quest to build an army,regain Jayavar's lands that was taken by force by, Indravarman,the Chams leader. A fascinating story with engaging characters. While, Mr. Shors is a wonderful storyteller,I could not quiet connect with the c ...more
A historical fictitious account of a war in Cambodia during the 12th century. Overwhelmed by the enemy, many of the natives escape to the jungle to join their Prince who vows to lead his people back to victory.
There is several love stories in this one but the main one is between Asal who becomes disillusioned with the enemy king and a native woman, Voisanne with whom he falls in love and decides to protect.
This novel is the best that John Shors has yet put out. It moves along at a good clip. The
Jan 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
I picked up this book with much anticipation since I very much enjoyed Beneath a Marble Sky a few years ago and because of the historical setting and the focus on the Angkor Wat temple. So much promise – disappointed in the delivery. The historical nature of the story and the place had so much going for it. But the characters didn’t have much depth, didn’t come alive and were rather one dimensional. The setting fared a bit better with Shors painting a fairly decent picture of what it was like in ...more
J. Harmon
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have never read a novel about Angkor Wat, and I'm so glad that I got an early look at Temple of a Thousand Faces. This is a marvelous novel--as big and beautiful as the subject matter. Five pages into the story, I was hooked.
Aug 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
This novel is a wonderful example of why I love historical fiction.... I learn things about civilizations I previously knew nothing about!!! This this was the first novel I've read by Shors and I truly look forward to reading more by him... I really enjoyed this!!!
Sue Holland
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I am a big fan of John Shors and his new book didn't disappoint me. On the contrary, I loved it. This is such a big, rich novel, and I enjoyed every page.
Kim Miller
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, 2018
This one was a slow burner for me. Once character lines all joined together, I was totally in. Makes me want to head back to Cambodia and explores the temples all over again.
Viv Ross
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
First off, I won my copy of the book via a giveaway hosted by Goodreads.

I gotta say, history has never been my favorite subject and with a few exceptions it has always failed to capture my interest AND hold my long-term attention. The cultures which have always held my interest have been from the distant past. Usually this consists of cultures before the Christian religion was born. The ancient Celts, Vikings, Egyptians, and a few others have been the focus of my only interest in history whether
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Story Description:

NAL Trade|February 5, 2013|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-451-23917-4

In his international bestseller, Beneath a Marble Sky, John Shors wrote about the ancient passion, beauty, and brilliance that inspired the building of the Taj Mahal. Now with Temple of a Thousand Faces, he brings the legendary temple of Angkor Wat, an unrivaled marvel of ornately carved towers and stone statues. There, in a story set nearly a thousand years ago, an empire is lost, a royal love is tested, and her
Teresa Louis
Oct 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Last night my boyfriend was reading Temple of a Thousand Faces by John Shors. We were going to play some cards when he reached a good stopping point, but he couldn't stop reading! Having already read Temple, I was able to be a "good girlfriend" and do something by myself while he read on.

Temple of a Thousand Faces has something for everyone: an exotic setting, two unusual and powerful love stories, family devotion, lots of action, and two of the baddest bad guys ever.

Through his evocative descr
Aug 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have read another John Shors novel and enjoyed it, but I appreciated this sweeping saga featuring the world of Cambodia in the 1100s because I was not aware of its fascinating history. Angor Wat and Cambodia have now been added to my bucket list ...

In a surprise attack, the Cham king has invaded the country of the Khmers, slaying the old king, and ordering his trained warriors to slaughter anyone who gets in the way. The stories of several families and warriors are inexticably interwined as th
Waheed Rabbani
Oct 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In 1177 in Angkor, Khmer (now Cambodia), Prince Jayavar and his chief wife, Ajadevi, stand on a causeway gazing at the colossal multiterraced sandstone temple, its “five towers shaped like lotus buds” ascending in a tropical forest. Suddenly, after sailing up a Mekong River tributary, a large force from neighbouring Champa (central and south Vietnam) attacks Angkor. Following a fierce battle, Jayavar and Ajadevi are forced to flee into the jungle and hide at a secret location.
Assisted by his vil
Feb 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Temple of a Thousand Faces Review

In a peaceable jungle kingdom, a kind and gentle prince interested in the arts and architecture is looking to a future building roads and hospitals for his people. He is in love with his barren chief wife and besotted with his children. The fairytale Khmer Empire by the river with its main city Angkor is filled with the beauty of Angkor Wat – a temple of majesty and spiritual significance for both Hindus and Buddhists. But the quiet and beauty is about to be brok
Linda Prieskorn
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. I'm sure I loved it more because I have been to Angkor Wat. I could picture every scene. I remember standing at a frieze in the temple that depicted a battle with the Chams wondering who these people were. I suppose that some people who read this will feel it is nothing but a Cambodian romance novel. I did get this book on Kindle the first day it was available so it will be awhile before it is in libraries.

I wish I had read this book before I went because I would have tried to
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I'm the bestselling author of The Demon Seekers trilogy, My Midnight Sun, Unbound, Beneath a Marble Sky, Temple of a Thousand Faces, Cross Currents, Beside a Burning Sea, Dragon House, and The Wishing Trees. My novels have won multiple awards and have been translated into twenty six languages. I have also spoken (via speakerphone) with more than

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“Look around you, Jayavar," she continued. "See how the temple inspires? How the dreams of its makers can still be felt on this day? You must inspire our people just as our temples do, by convincing them that they're part of something far more beautiful and glorious than themselves. That's what Khmers have always believed and what we must continue to believe.” 1 likes
“Reminders are for those who cannot remember. Memories are for those who want to remember.” 0 likes
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