"What stands out, was the British placing of the necessity of Empire before everything. They believed for the good of the Empire and its reputation, white reputation (face) must be protected, even at the cost of a cover-up in the vicious murder of one of their own people, a defenceless young British woman, by a man from another country but a professional man and a white man nevertheless."
The novel is captivating as enlightening. A great achievement
Margaret Blair paints a colourful portrait of a lost world and the story smoothly switches gear from one of survival to a thriller in which the British representatives in China do not play a creditable role. She knows China well, having spent her childhood there, and Shaman will keep you turning the page.
I finished Shaman in the small hours of the morning. This is yet another fascinating China-based book by Margaret Blair. She has an extraordinary ability to conjure up the atmosphere of interwar China and its great cities.
Incorporated painlessly into a fictional story, I learned a lot about life in China in the 1930s, and about the life of a courtesan, and concepts such as “the Peking quarrel.” I liked the strong female character and that she learned martial arts. This is a potential action movie! My favourite sentence is: ”I was unable to ask the camel."
Ashley Kelley, The US Review of Books
Shaman, A Tara Adventure
“So I thought I have been sold like cattle to the highest bidder." Blair's novel depicts the journey of a young girl who is forced to burden herself with her family's financial situation. Arielle becomes a courtesan to support her family after her father suffers an unfortunate stroke that leaves him without any control of his body. During her training as a courtesan, Arielle witnesses an attack on another courtesan. This event prompts her to take steps to learn self defense and ultimately into studies of shamanism. “Under the instruction of Wu and in her new identity of Tara, Arielle is transformed. Her coming-of-age story exhibits a thrilling novel under historical pretenses. Once trained, Tara challenges herself to take a mission to bring a vicious American murderer of a young American girl in Peking to justice in Shanghai. ... “... . The author’s novel depicts a tremendously evolved story that encompasses the old world and the new world, just as Shanghai did in the 1930s. Through Blair's use of historical references, character development, and pace, Arielle's story is truly unique and perfect for someone who enjoys thrillers.”