Shangri-La: The Return to the World of Lost Horizon

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9780688128722: Shangri-La: The Return to the World of Lost Horizon

In the remote unexplored highlands of Tibet there is a secret place called Shangri-La. Shadowed by mountain peaks and untouched by time, Shangri-La is a hidden utopia, open only to the most worthy of humankind. The curious and the bold all come searching for paradise, but only a few find it.
Shangri-La is the chilling story of one such seeker. It is spring, 1966, and the atrocities of the Chinese Cultural Revolution have reached Tibet. General Zhang, of the invading People's Liberation Army, is a fortune hunter with plunder on his mind. Nothing is safe from him, especially Tibet's sacred treasures. His path of destruction and desecration leads him ever closer to the very heart of Tibet: Shangri-La.
Only one person can stop General Zhang: Hugh Conway, guardian of Shangri-La. As Zhang slowly decodes the riddles that shroud this earthly paradise, Conway must find a way to halt the general's determined progress, even if it means leaving his protected valley and sacrificing himself. Conway's unlikely ally is Zhang's daughter, a young officer in the Chinese army, who must choose between loyalty and love.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Cooney and Altieri, coauthors of two novels of historical China, The Court of the Lion (1989) and Deception (1993), attempt a sequel to the long-ago Lost Horizon. James Hilton's 1933 classic meant a great deal to a world struggling with worldwide depression and the rise of the Third Reich, because it portrayed a cultured, secret land without want, where everyone lived in harmony, no one grew old, and love might very well prove eternal. The reader was left with Hilton's Hugh Conway wandering the globe, trying to return to his paradise--a lovely metaphor, and one best untampered with, perhaps. In this follow-up, Conway did return and lived many happy and contemplative, if loveless, years. But as the 1960s arrive, Shangri-La is in peril: Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution is overtaking Tibet, purging it of all things holy. In command is General Zhang, a villainous but clever man who begins following a sort of map to Shangri-La that's been laid down in ancient temples to guide the worthy pilgrim. Conway must enter the outside world again to throw Zhang off the trail, which he does by providing false clues that lead to a place of sorcery and delusion. Conway may stay only ten days in the outside world without aging, but in that time he falls in love with a young girl, Zhang's daughter, Ma Li. Ma Li recalls the entire story from the vantage point of a saner time, 2007, before she embarks on her own, late-life quest for Shangri-La and her lost lover. A bit forced at times, and slow to meet Hilton's formidable challenge. But Zhang's unwitting evil quest rivals The Hobbit in its power and agony, and Conway's recollection of how he returned to Shangri-La is splendidly realized. As good as sequels get. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Much has changed in Tibet since James Hilton used it 63 years ago as the inspiration for Lost Horizon, his classic novel about Shangri-la, a spiritual paradise hidden in the Himalayas. Where monks once walked, Chinese troops now march; where temples once stood, rubble lies. In an unfortunate triumph of polemic over art, this sequel to Hilton's yarn hammers home these sad facts and a multitude more, at the expense of good writing. The novel's very structure indicates Cooney and Altieri's (Deception, 1994) disregard of storytelling principles: it's told in a confusion of time frames, first in the present of the late 1960s, then as a flashforward, then back to the present, then as a further flashback, then in the present once again. Hugh Conway, the British diplomat who in Hilton's original became high lama of Shangri-la, must reenter the world in order to foil a Chinese general who, in the midst of plundering Tibet, gets wind of the fabled land whose inhabitants can live for centuries. During his descent, Conway falls in love with a young Chinese woman. Risking sudden aging, he lingers with her, telling her how, after leaving Shangri-la three decades earlier for the brief exile that concluded the Hilton tale, he made his tortuous way back to his beloved oasis in the snows. It's only in Conway's flashbacked story that the authors touch the magic and excitement of the original. Otherwise, this is a well-meaning but ham-fisted sequel to a novel that needed none.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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