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A Woman of Angkor

A Woman of Angkor

Author(s): John Burgess

Location(s): Angkor (Siem Reap), Cambodia

Genre(s): Fiction, Historical

Era(s): 12th Century

Location

Content

Pure and beautiful, she glows like the moon behind clouds.” The time is the 12th Century, the place Cambodia, birthplace of the lost Angkor civilisation. In a village behind a towering stone temple lives a young woman named Sray, whom neighbours liken to the heroine of a Hindu epic. Hiding a dangerous secret, she is content with quiet obscurity, but one rainy season afternoon is called to a life of prominence in the royal court. There her faith and loyalties are tested by attentions from the great king Suryavarman II. Struggling to keep her devotion is her husband Nol, palace confidante and master of the silk parasols that were symbols of the monarch’s rank. This lovingly crafted first novel by former ‘Washington Post’ correspondent John Burgess revives the rites and rhythms of the ancient culture that built the temples of Angkor, then abandoned them to the jungle. In telling her tale, Sray takes the reader to a hilltop monastery, a concubine pavilion and across the seas to the throne room of imperial China. She witnesses the construction of the largest of the temples, Angkor Wat, and offers an explanation for its greatest mystery – why it broke with centuries of tradition to face west instead of east.

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Lead Review

An absolute must if you are going to Angkor Wat – SH –

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Enter the 2021TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition! Entries close 6th November

A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

Winning entry published on TripFiction site and publicised on Social Media