© Isabel Allende.
This is the second in a trilogy about teenager Alexander Cold, his grandmother Kate, and their Amazon River friend from the first book City of the Beasts, Nadia, who accompanies them on this new adventure to the Himalayas. In an imagined kingdom there, largely cut off from modern civilization, some monks encounter an ancient life form we would know as Yetis. Meanwhile, the three adventurers gain access to the kingdom for a festival, when it’s invaded by mercenaries intent on stealing a golden statue that’s the key to the monarch’s power and wisdom. This is all masterminded by a wealthy but mysterious man who wants not only the statue, but the predictive power it holds, and to gain that he must also capture the king. Along the way, Nadia is kidnapped by the mercenaries, and Alex goes off alone to try to rescue her. One of the monks who has befriended the Yetis helps Nadia, and soon is on the way to try to rescue the king and the gold statue as well. This could be perilous to all, as he is the king’s son, and the only free man who now knows how to use the statue’s power.
Like the first book this is a page turner with lots of adventure in an exotic location, well researched, with some elements of fantasy and in this case a good deal of Buddhist mysticism and mental magic. A good read, though I can’t say I liked it quite as much as the first book. Kate, the grandmother, doesn’t have much to do in this one, and seems kind of wasted, and the plot gets convoluted at times. Still a good read with some exciting moments, and recommended.