I have received a free e-copy of the book The Last Gods of Indochine by Samuel Ferrer to review.
Here is the book blurb.
Jacquie Mouhot and Paaku the Lotus-Born are divided by six centuries but linked by a common curse. In medieval Cambodia, Paaku is an orphan whose community believes he may be a reluctant incarnation of a god, causing sectarian turmoil for the kingdom’s leaders. Meanwhile, in 1921, Jacquie follows the footsteps of her grandfather, a famous explorer, to Indochina, where she becomes immersed in the tragedy of Paaku’s history: a story simultaneously unfolding in the intertwined present and past, a story in which she still has a vital role to play.
The book starts with Jacquie’s grandfather Henri, an explorer dying from malaria in Laos in 1861, deliriously talking about The Sea of Milk, before fast forwarding to introduce Jacquie in 1921, who is about to set off from France to follow her grandfather’s footsteps to Indochina by sea, via Singapore and Saigon to Cambodia. We then travel back to The Khmer Empire in 1294 where we meet Paaku and his best friend Jarisi. Paaku heals a monkey that had been bitten by a tiger. The story continues to alternate between 1921 and 1294, interspersed with entries from Henri’s journal. Jacquie experiences several nightmares, including flashbacks to when she was nursing at the Somme.
Back in 1294, the kingdom is ruled by King Jayavarman VIII and religion is divided between Buddha, Shiva, Vishnu and other gods. Paaku and Jarisi head to the festival where Paaku ends up being selected by Queen Devi for the test of bending Balarma’s Spear, which is made of gold. Amazingly he does it easily, a feat that hasn’t been achieved for over 100 years. It is declared a miracle, but fate follows a strange cursed path after that. And somehow Paaku’s story is already known to Jacquie. When present and past collide, what will happen?
The Last Gods of Indochine published by Signal 8 Press is available on Amazon, currently priced at £15 in paperback or £6.31 in Kindle format. A fascinating read of a civilisation I knew nothing about.
About the author
Samuel Ferrer is a double bassist and member of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the songwriter and bassist for the acid jazz group Shaolin Fez. He holds degrees from Yale and the University of Southern California, and as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, spent a year in between degrees studying in Paris. He is the only non-Asian to be nominated for Asia’s most prestigious literary award, The Man Asian Literary Prize (“The Booker of Asia”). This is his first novel.
Disclosure. This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.