September 9th, 2017

Golden Hair

China's Cosmopolitan Empire

China's Cosmopolitan Empire: The Tang Dynasty by Mark Edward Lewis

From the geographical shifts of population and importance, the succession of emperors, the revisions of the legal code, the urban life, with its main roads forbidden to most by night, the beginning of the examination system (which might win you a prestigious marriage instead of a post), the importance of tribute bearers in their native costume to show how far its power reached, how Buddhism was still treated as foreign, the Buddha being denounced as mere ghost or ancestor, to honor only his own family, and accusations against foreign monks going so far to claim they were animals in disguise (one, it was declared, was revealed to be a camel), women who became Daoist or Buddhist nuns to escape marriage and more.

Arranged by theme.
reading

The Painted Queen by E. Peters & J. Hess

Arriving in Cairo for another thrilling excavation season, Amelia is relaxing in a well-earned bubble bath in her elegant hotel suite in Cairo, when a man with knife protruding from his back staggers into the bath chamber and utters a single word—"Murder"—before collapsing on the tiled floor, dead. Among the few possessions he carried was a sheet of paper with Amelia’s name and room number, and a curious piece of pasteboard the size of a calling card bearing one word: "Judas." Most peculiarly, the stranger was wearing a gold-rimmed monocle in his left eye.

It quickly becomes apparent that someone saved Amelia from a would-be assassin—someone who is keeping a careful eye on the intrepid Englishwoman. Discovering a terse note clearly meant for Emerson—Where were you?"—pushed under their door, there can be only one answer: the brilliant master of disguise, Sethos.

But neither assassins nor the Genius of Crime will deter Amelia as she and Emerson head to the excavation site at Amarna, where they will witness the discovery of one of the most precious Egyptian artifacts: the iconic Nefertiti bust. In 1345 B.C. the sculptor Thutmose crafted the piece in tribute to the great beauty of this queen who was also the chief consort of Pharaoh Akhenaten and stepmother to King Tutankhamun.

For Amelia, this excavation season will prove to be unforgettable. Throughout her journey, a parade of men in monocles will die under suspicious circumstances, fascinating new relics will be unearthed, a diabolical mystery will be solved, and a brilliant criminal will offer his final challenge . . . and perhaps be unmasked at last.


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