A Woman of Angkor: A Novel Depicting Angkorian Civilization

This takes place in the 12th century in Cambodia, the origin of the fabled Angkorian civilization that has since vanished from history. Sray, a young woman who neighbors compare to the heroine of a Hindu epic, lives in a village hidden behind a massive stone temple.

She is satisfied to live in calm obscurity while keeping a hazardous secret, but one rainy season afternoon, she is called to a life of notoriety at the royal court. She accepts the invitation. There, her faith and loyalty are put to the test by Suryavarman II, the king’s son. Nol, the monarch’s trusted confidante and master of the silk parasols that served as status symbols, is struggling to hold on to his wife’s affection.

This well-researched tale brings back the old ceremonies and rhythms of the people who built the Angkor temples, only to abandon them in the forest after they were finished. Sray takes the reader to a mountaintop monastery, a pavilion for concubines, and even to the imperial throne room of China in narrating her story. Angkor Wat’s greatest mystery—why it defied centuries of tradition by facing west instead of east—is solved by her observations of its building.

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