Cover image for Bone mountain
Bone mountain
Pattison, Eliot.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Minotaur, [2002]

Physical Description:
424 pages : maps ; 25 cm
Format :


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Deep in the heart of Tibet, Shan Tao Yun, an exiled Chinese national and a former Beijing government Inspector, is caught between the brutal Chinese army and a Western oil company. Shan has agreed to lead an expedition to return the eye of an idol, stolen almost a century ago and recently, clandestinely recovered, to a distant valley, an act that will fulfill an important Tibetan prophecy. But the pilgrimage turns into a desperate flight when the monk who is to lead them is murdered. Shan also discovers that the stone was stolen back from a brigade of the Chinese army that is now in hot pursuit.Still possessing an investigator's love of truth, Shan faces a perplexing tangle of mysteries. Why are the Chinese so desperate to retrieve the stone eye, why has an American geologist abandoned the oil company's drilling project and fled into the mountains, and why are rumors sweeping the countryside that an ancient lama is returning to liberate this country? As he digs into these questions, Shan realizes that there is more at stake than mere justice: the spiritual survival of his peopleis in danger as well.Complex and compelling, Bone Mountain is a spectacular achievement from a major voice in crime fiction.

Author Notes

Eliot Pattison is the author of The Skull Mantra , which was a finalist for the Gold Dagger and winner of the Edgar Award, and Water Touching Stone . He is a world traveler and frequent visitor to China, whose numerous books and articles on international policy issues have been published around the world.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Thoughts of Tibet conjure up great sweeping vistas of snow-capped mountains, but the land of blue sheep and Buddhist lamas is also a place of secret caves and hidden valleys where plants used in an ancient medical tradition that treats both body and soul flourish even as knowledge of their properties is lost under China's brutal occupation. It's the concealed power of Tibet, the enduring glory of the abused land and the courage of the resistance movement that fights to keep Tibetan Buddhism and its healing arts alive, that fires Pattison's imagination and compassion, inspiring his series featuring the valiant Shan, formerly a Beijing investigator, now a lama's disciple. The saga begun in The Skull Mantra (1999) and continued in Water Touching Stone [BKL My 1 01] flows on in Pattison's third soulful mystery, in which Shan is entrusted with returning the stone eye of a deity, a quixotic assignment that entails journeys both physical and spiritual and involves resourceful Tibetan rebels, a renegade American diplomat, an ancient medicine lama, and a ruthless Chinese army officer. Reminiscent of The Lord of the Rings with its quirky band of seekers traversing majestic yet treacherous landscapes, Pattison's densely plotted and incredibly detailed novel induces his entranced readers to care deeply about both his compelling characters and long-suffering Tibet. --Donna Seaman

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this third suspenseful mystery-thriller from Edgar winner Pattison (The Skull Mantra; Water Touching Stone), discredited former Beijing police investigator Shan Tao Yun, unofficially released from a central Tibetan gulag, is now living with a group of outlaw Buddhist monks, some of whom helped him through his most unbearable prison experiences. In gratitude he and his friend, the renegade monk Lokesh, agree to escort a stolen religious artifact to the remote Yapchi Valley, the site, coincidentally, of international oil explorations, from which an American engineer has disappeared. Chinese plans to clear the valley and relocate its farmers and sheepherders to cities will profit the mining project and aid the Chinese "in another effort to pry Tibet's collective fingers from its rosary." Just as the holy artifact is a mystical symbol of Tibetan culture and Buddhism, so the multilayered story is imbued with Tibetan belief, civilization and politics. Readers with little knowledge of Tibet's religion and history may have difficulty following the plot with its large cast of varied, well-drawn Tibetans, Chinese and Americans, countless treks through rugged, stunning landscapes and the numerous side plots including several murders some of which are red herrings. Pattison's empathy for the cause of Tibetan independence is admirable, but it often overwhelms his story. The book, which is far too long and discursive, becomes a polemic that dilutes Shan's search for the truth. National author tour. (Sept. 16) Forecast: While not much in the news of late, the fate of Tibet remains a hot issue. Look for strong demand from mainstream readers, especially those with a spiritual bent. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Edgar Award winner Pattison continues the adventures of Shan in this intense and captivating exploration of modern Tibet. Shan is on a pilgrimage when he witnesses the beating death of his friend Drakte. Shan is not one to let a crime go unpunished, so he goes after the murderer. During his investigation, he clashes with the Chinese 54th Mountain Brigade, an army whose leader would love to see Shan a prisoner again. In addition, he helps an American ambassador named Winslow look for a woman geologist who mysteriously vanished. The oil company she worked for is determined to obtain its product at any cost, even if it decimates land in the process. All these events converge against the background of a harsh landscape. Much like an sf, Pattison has taken an unknown world and made it come alive. For all fiction collections. Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.