Friday, November 7, 2014

A peak into Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos and The Silk Road

 Still in adventure mode from last week so here is the beginning of Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos for Book Beginnings on Friday, hosted by Rose City Reader  ...

Mother Sends a Surprise 

I don't trust Clive Fagenbush.

How can you trust a person who have eyebrows as thick and black as hairbrushes and smells of boiled cabbage and pickled onions? Besides, I am beginning to suspect that he is up to something. What worse, I think he suspects I'm up to something. Which I usually am.

The needle marks and shape of this document
indicate that is was part of a funerary garment,
possibly a shirt, buried in a Turfan graveyard.
The document begins in the upper-right hand
corner with the name of the merchant,
Cao Lushan, and his age, thirty.

For non-fiction, I am back on my Silk Road kick, so here is the opening to The Silk Road: A New History ...

The document on the facing page illustrates the subject of this book. It is a court record of testimony given by an Iranian merchant living in China sometime around 670CE. The Iranian requested the court's assistance in recovering 275 bolts of silk owed to his deceased brother. He testified that, after lending the silk to his Chinese partner, his brother disappeared in the desert on a business trip with two camels, four cattle and a donkey, and was presumed dead. The court ruled that, as his brother's survivor, the Iranian was entitled to the silk, but it is not clear whether the ruling was ever enforced.

For The Friday 56 hosted at Freda's Voice we pick up Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos on page 56 ...

"You!" I spluttered, ignoring the small shower of crumbs that escaped. Served him right for following me. 

"Oy, what about me?" he asked, his sharp blue eyes watching my pie with keen interest. 

"Why have you been following me? Don't lie now." 

The urchin pulled himself up to his full height, which was a good two inches shorter than me. "I never lie," he said in a huff. "And I wasn't following you, I was following the bloke that was following you." 

My knees wobbled a bit. "Which bloke, er, gentleman?"

That seems like a good place to stop, so here is a bit from page 56 of The Silk Road: A New History

As a meeting place for peoples of multiple nationalities, the Silk Road was a site of sustained language exchange in an era long before the development of modern language learning aids like dictionaries and textbooks. Among the most dedicated language teachers were Buddhists who hoped to convey their sophisticated teachings as originally expressed in Sanskrit to potential converts. The residents of the prosperous oasis of Kucha on the northern route around the Taklamakan enjoyed an advantage over other language learners along the Silk Road, since their native language of Kuchean belonged to the same Indo-European language family as Sanskrit. Kucha provided a natural gateway for the entry into China of Buddhist teachings. The oasis also afforded Buddhist teachers the opportunity to meet with multilingual travelers who came to Kucha - then the largest and most prosperous settlement on the northern Silk Road, rivaled only by Turfan. 

Happy Friday !


  1. Oh my goodness I love the description in the book beginning! It is so priceless how she describes Clive! Thanks for sharing and happy Friday! :)

    Here's my book beginning!

  2. The person in the first book sounds pretty nasty from that description. But great pick for an interesting quote.
    Check out my Friday 56

  3. Both books sound fascinating (and totally different from each other). I like the word "spluttered" in Theodosia.
    My Friday post features DEAR SUGAR.

  4. Theodosia looks like my kind of book!
    Happy weekend!

  5. The Silk Road looks amazing. The cover is gorgeous.

    Thanks for sharing both books.

    ENJOY your reading weekend.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Book Beginnings


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