This adventure tale set in 1925 takes us from Seattle, Washington to Shanghai, and finally the jungles of Cambodia. Irene Blum has always believed her future as the curator of the Brooke Museum was assured when the present curator retired. However, the trustees had different ideas and appointed a man with academic credentials. Wild to prove her worth and establish her reputation, Irene undertakes an expedition to Cambodia to find a lost Khmer temple and bring back ten copper scrolls detailing the Khmer history.
The expedition is financed by Henry Simms, a wealthy collector who has been like a father to Irene. He wants to find the scrolls before he dies of cancer. He gives her introductions and arranges for her to meet the other members of the expedition. At first it seems an ill assorted crew including Simone, a drug addict, Louis, an expert on the Khmer temples, and Marc, a nightclub owner from Shanghai. Together they head out to find the scrolls and also end up facing their true desires.
This is a marvelous book. The author describes Indochina so well you actually breathe in the heavily scented air and feel the slippery sweat on your skin. The characters are marvelous. Each of the four principles is well drawn, but Irene is a standout as a courageous woman, capable of leading others and finding her real strength even if it means giving up her desire for prestige.
I highly recommend this book. The tension will keep you reading. The plot is fascinating and not unraveled until the very end, although the clues are provided throughout. I didn't want it to end. In fact, the ending made me wonder whether there will be a sequel.
I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Program.