The Silk Empress
Volume 2 : The Eyes of the Buddha
On the fabulous Silk Route, the adventure of the encounter between East and West…
From oasis to oasis, from monastery to monastery, the Silk Route has become the scene of a huge pursuit. A war of religion is declared, which secret weapon is silk. With their plots and dreams of power, the mighty religious leaders have disturbed the balance of strength: all of them now, Buddhists and representatives of the Western religions, have taken up clandestine business. At the Chinese capital’s markets, fraudulent silk is plentiful, to the great displeasure of the State police. The Empress herself keeps watch on the investigation… while secretly being in contact with the silk traffickers.
In one of the oasises, Five Defences, a Buddhist monk, meets a Christian girl. It’s love at first sight. Overwhelmed with passion, they decide to run off together taking the Silk Route, with the Celestial Twins, the mysterious babies Five Defences has been put in charge of.
Once in Chang An, the Chinese capital, they try to scrape a living by selling some medicine at the markets, where the Celestial Twins attract considerable attention. Empress Wuzhao herself wants to see them. Touched by their curious story, she promises to help them and hides them in her palace. But soon, a spite forces them to start out again, after they have entrusted the twins to the Empress’ care. Thanks to the baby girl, half a human and half a monkey — the symbol of an astonishing reincarnation —, the children become a trump card in the hands of the ambitious young woman who, when her erotic extravagances and the affairs of state leave her enough time, looks after them with much affection. But the road to power will be all the more long and dangerous since, at the other end of the Route, is starting out Mad Cloud, a mighty Tantrist whose brain has been damaged by opium but who is still able to harm.
Set-up, rumours, kidnappings and new developments are plentiful in the second volume of this vast trilogy. José Frèches takes the reader from North India to Tibet and China, along the Silk Route, a fabulous way of commercial, cultural and religious exchanges.
A novel about religions, about exchanges and about the fascinating discovery of the others, a novel about power and lure of gain. But, above all, a love and adventure novel… The Empress of the Silk is also, in a way, a novel about the birth of a borderless world.