The Skull Mantra (Inspector Shan Tao Yun) [Eliot Pattison] on * FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. When a headless corpse turns up on a Tibetan. Reviews. Thomas Gaughan for Booklist; Kirkus Reviews; Publisher’s Weekly; Barbara Conaty for the Library Journal. Cover for Skull Mantra – US Edition. “The Skull Mantra does for Tibet what Martin Cruz Smith’s Gorky Park did for Russia. “I’ll never stop suggesting Eliot Pattison’s first thriller, The Skull Mantra, .

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Don’t have an account? Shan, a political prisoner, in work group is brought before the Provincial Governor, Colonel Tan, and assigned the task of finding out who beheaded Prosecutor Jao on the road Group was building. Some features of WorldCat will not be available. But if he doesn’t solve the crime, the director has said Shan’s fellow inmates will be killed.

A first class mystery! Alienation is a Marxist term used to describe, among other things, the separation between the worker and the product of his work which he or she neither owns nor profits by. Reviews User-contributed reviews Add a review and share your thoughts with other readers. I’ve not studied Tibet, so I don’t independently know whether Pattison got the land and culture right except for broad political outlines in recent Tibetan history, which I am familiar pattixon.

It has a great number of twists and turns leaving the manrta sometimes confused about who the pttison are. I knew it was good from the get go, not simple, not easy, but a very well built story, full of details, making it difficult for you but still grabbing your attention every step of the way. Sep 19, Skip rated it liked it Shelves: Pattison does this while not breaking the plot.

I wasn’t able to pick up on any of the clues, many of which were in the form of koans.

Eliot Pattison

Patttison element which divides the two series and approaches of the authors is that Pattison describes how Tibetans, especially with the help of their shared beliefs in Buddhism, continue to live in a nexus of relationships based on love, trust and acceptance.

There are many intersecting plot lines, including an American mine, poppy growing, underground Tibetan rebels, and esoterica about Buddhism. What a mystery masterpiece! Both protagonists pattiison always looking for the truth when only politically acceptable answers will do, and both get into a great deal of pain and pattizon as a result.


Now a murder has occurred and he is temporarily released from the labor gang to lead an investigation, an investigation that the political leadership intends as a perfunctory skulk whitewash rather than a true effort to ascertain facts.

Sex – 1 There was no sexual content. Clues are laid out in such a way that it feels as if two mysteries are being solved. He discovers the real culprits are Chinese officials and American miners, but the truth may hurt the camp more than a lie. But I did learn a lot about Tibetan politics, Chinese policy, and Buddhism.

And finally, each elaborate piece does have a very small bit to do with the overall mystery. User tags User lists Similar Items. I had hoped to enjoy this book rather more than I did. While not an easy read, I highly recommend this book as both an excellent mystery and also an accurate reflection of present day Tibet.

Sep 27, HBalikov psttison it it was amazing. However, it has patgison be said that there is one cross-over characteristic which rather puzzles me.

When the early evidence shows that the killer was an ancient Buddhist demon and party officials try to thwart his investigation by arresting an innocent monk, Shan is thrown into a malestrom of political and religious intrigue involving American mining interests, Tibetan sorcerers, corrupt party officials, a secret illegal monastery and the Buddhist resistance movement. After 4 years with the monks, learning from them as they continue to teach and practice their religion, Shan himself is more Tibetan than Chinese.

Serving an indefinite prison term in a Tibetan slave-labor camp for having embarrassed a high-ranking Party minister, former Public Security Investigator Shan Tao Yun is compelled by Colonel Tan, the fastidious Party boss of a remote county, to fabricate a report.

The skull mantra

He vividly depicts the landscape, the Buddhist subculture, beliefs, practices, and the unremitting genocidal practices of the Chinese.

The novel can be read for either the mystery or the description of a troubled part of the world and the reader will enjoy both.

An additional driving force to quickly solve the murder case is the presence of an American mining company who is attempting to set up a joint venture with the Chinese in Tibet. It would be interesting if Smith and Pattison wrote a joint book. Which is a good thing when it comes to recommending it to people looking for new crime novels, I think, because that way there is enough familiarity in the book to make the reading experience more comfortable to people who would be put off by too much foreignness.


I think even Pattison must get lost in some of his plots, but it is not the plot that one enjoys in his books but the people, especially the Tibetan characters, and Shan the Chinese investigator sent to a gulag in outermost Tibet which the Chinese now call western China.

THE SKULL MANTRA by Eliot Pattison | Kirkus Reviews

I loved the way the indigenous Tibetan prisoners used traditional mudras Buddhist hand positions almost like gang signs, to communicate with each other when the guards aren’t paying attention. Mar 31, Barb Middleton rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: In this book, we meet Shan Tao Yun for the the first time.

Reading all these books together — two of my favourite mystery writers — I began to compare them and see them in a broader perspective. He’s a prisoner of a lao gaia labor camp in the Himalayas. Please enter the message. He has published five books and more than thirty articles on international topics. His professional career consists of advising and representing U.

How can one book be so bleak and so uplifting? Pattison is good at this, but what he does even better is describe the people and the situation they’re in, whether it’s the Tibetans or the Chinese. Religion crashes head on with the governing powers when a dead body is found at the worksite and all signs lead to a murder by a demonic deity.

View all 3 comments. Please enter your name. It’s a rather straightforward police procedural with no real twists, but good enough to sustain the plot. I also found the characterisations a little limp – if you were Chinese you were a variation on chain-smoking party-apparatchik baddy, if you were a Tibetan you were a variation on inscrutable mystic.

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