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Geoff Ryman, The King's Last Song

The King's Last Song
Geoff Ryman

September 9, 2008
9781931520560 · Trade paper· 5.5 x 8.5 · 450 pp · $16

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The King's Last Song is an immersive novel of epic proportions that interweaves two Cambodian stories: Archeologist Luc Andrade discovers an ancient manuscript inscribed on gold leaves but is kidnapped — and the manuscript stolen — by a faction still loyal to the ideals of the brutal Pol Pot regime.

Andrade's friends, an ex-Khmer Rouge agent and a young motoboy, embark on a trek across Cambodia to rescue him. Meanwhile, Andrade, bargaining for his life, translates the lost manuscript for his captors.

The result is a glimpse into the tremendous and heart-wrenching story of King Jayavarman VII: his childhood, rise to power, marriage, interest in Buddhism, and the initiation of Cambodia's golden age. As Andrade and Jayavarman's stories interweave, the question becomes whether the tale of ancient wisdom can bring hope to a nation still suffering from the violent legacy of the last century.

The King's Last Song was originally published in the UK by HarperCollins. This new edition has an new extended afterword by the author, "A Reality Check on The King's Last Song," in which Ryman notes how both his sources and experiences added to the writing of the novel.

Read Chapter One.


* "An unforgettably vivid portrait of Cambodian culture past and present."
Booklist (starred review)


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  • Cover art © Pablo Carral Vega (from Corbis) and Jeremy Horner (Panos).
    Download cover for print.


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