Beneath a Marble Sky

Beneath a Marble Sky

by John Shors

Judy Stanton: Historical fiction, as John Shors says, gives you the chance to get involved in a story of love, lust, and intrigue, while still learning about history in a certain time and place. I enjoyed the read, anxiously wanting to know what happened next. The downside of the book, I felt, was that Shors lined up most of his characters on the "good" or "evil" side, with the good having few faults and the evil having few redeeming qualities. Janhara, for example, was totally devoted to her parents, despite the fact that they married her off to a brutal thug. That, and the loyal friends of royalty who spent most of their lives acting a part in order to serve the princess just didn't ring true to me. With that good vs. evil approach, I anxiously awaited the triumph over the evil brother, which turned out to be unresolved. Still, a good read that takes you away to a distant land and time.
Rating: ****

Dale Israel: Lucky for me, I've been on a roll reading several good books lately: The Girl Who Played with Fire, Dangerous Fortune, and now, Beneath a Marble Sky. John Shors' Beneath a Marble Sky takes the reader on a dazzling journey to the 17th century where the reigning emperor, consumed with grief over the tragic death of his beloved wife, commissions the building of the Taj Mahal. The book opens with the emperor's courageous daughter, Jahanara, looking back on her life and telling the mesmerizing tale of her life's story to her two young granddaughters. The novel is brimming with action and intrigue, love and passion. It sweeps you away to another life and time and captivates you so that housework, social obligations and day to day responsibilities are put on the back burner until you turn that last page. I truly mourn the loss of my "friends"--Jahanara, Nizam, Isa and others. Furthermore, I was touched by the author's letter to his audience which can be found in the back of the book. For each book sold, a portion of the proceeds will be given to a charity that "promotes cross-cultural understanding in children, youths and adults from around the world." Simply put, Beneath a Marble Sky was absolutely delicious--the highest accolades for a book well written!
Rating: *****

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