“When a Chinese monk broke into a hidden cave in 1900, he uncovered one of the world’s great literary secrets: a time capsule from the ancient Silk Road. Inside, scrolls were piled from floor to ceiling, undisturbed for a thousand years. The gem within was the Diamond Sutra of AD 868. This key Buddhist teaching, made 500 years before Gutenberg inked his press, is the world’s oldest printed book.”
The above excerpt is the promo piece from Goodreads, and if that definitely sparked my interest in this book. During the early 20th century, treasure seekers were spanning the globe looking for antiquities of value. Aurel Stein was an archeologist and scholar employed by the British Government, when he set of on the ancient Silk Road, in search of fame and treasure. He found both when his investigations led him to this monk and the cave, which is part of the Mogao Caves (aka The Thousand Buddha Caves), and is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I loved this book for so many reasons. Morgan’s writing was both informative and entertaining. There was a real sense of place and a real sense of adventure here. I felt like I was struggling through the barren desert right along with Stein, and I felt the thrill of discovery as well. I took the time to Google the Mogao Caves and saw the photographs of this amazing religious site. I can only imagine what Stein must have felt. It was a tremendous find.
4 1/2 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2012