A young girl is kidnapped and taken through the desert to an isolated mountain brothel. Two thousand years later, after a suspicious landslide near Lanzhou, a low-level bureaucrat searches for a missing colleague. A thirteenth-century Franciscan monk, traversing the Silk Road, begins his extraordinary deathbed confession, while five hundred years earlier, a grieving Chinese poet is summoned to the Emperor’s palace. In a series of delicately interlaced stories, Sam Meekings’ richly poetic and gripping second novel follows the journeys of characters whose lives, separated by millennia, are all in some way touched by the mysterious Book of Crows: a mythical book in which the entire history of the world – past, present and future – is written down.
Continuing the fascination with China he showed in his debut, Under Fishbone Clouds, Meekings s prose is exemplary, showing a desire not just to honour Chinese culture, but to contribute to it. --The Herald