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Authors: Colin Falconer

Silk Road

BOOK: Silk Road
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Colin Falconer
was born in North London. He has worked in TV and radio and as a freelance journalist. He has been a novelist for the last twenty five years, with his work published widely in the UK, US and Europe. His books have been translated into seventeen languages. He currently lives in Australia. Visit his website at
www.colinfalconer.net

COLIN
FALCONER
First published in Great Britain in 2011
by Corvus, an imprint of Atlantic Books Ltd.
Copyright © Colin Falconer, 2011
The moral right of Colin Falconer to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. All characters, organizations and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
Hardback ISBN: 978-0-85789-108-2
Trade paperback ISBN: 978-0-85789-109-9
E-book ISBN: 978-0-85789-119-8
Printed in Great Britain.
Corvus, an imprint of Grove Atlantic Ltd
Ormond House
26-27 Boswell Street
London WC1N 3JZ
www.corvus-books.co.uk
Contents

Cover

Title Page

Copyright

Acknowledgements

Dedication

Map

Prologue

Part I

Chapter I

Chapter II

Chapter III

Chapter IV

Chapter V

Chapter VI

Chapter VII

Chapter VIII

Chapter IX

Chapter X

Chapter XI

Chapter XII

Chapter XIII

Chapter XIV

Chapter XV

Chapter XVI

Part II

Chapter XVII

Chapter XVIII

Chapter XIX

Chapter XX

Chapter XXI

Chapter XXII

Chapter XXIII

Chapter XXIV

Chapter XXV

Chapter XXVI

Chapter XXVII

Chapter XXVIII

Chapter XXIX

Chapter XXX

Chapter XXXI

Chapter XXXII

Chapter XXXIII

Chapter XXXIV

Chapter XXXV

Chapter XXXVI

Chapter XXXVII

Chapter XXXVIII

Chapter XXXIX

Chapter XL

Chapter XLI

Chapter XLII

Part III

Chapter XLIII

Chapter XLIV

Chapter XLV

Chapter XLVI

Chapter XLVII

Chapter XLVIII

Chapter XLIX

Chapter L

Chapter LI

Chapter LII

Chapter LIII

Chapter LIV

Chapter LV

Chapter LVI

Chapter LVII

Chapter LVIII

Chapter LIX

Chapter LX

Chapter LXI

Part IV

Chapter LXII

Chapter LXIII

Chapter LXIV

Chapter LXV

Chapter LXVI

Chapter LXVII

Chapter LXVIII

Chapter LXIX

Chapter LXX

Part V

Chapter LXXI

Chapter LXXII

Chapter LXXIII

Chapter LXXIV

Chapter LXXV

Chapter LXXVI

Chapter LXXVII

Chapter LXXVIII

Chapter LXXIX

Chapter LXXX

Chapter LXXXI

Chapter LXXXII

Chapter LXXXIII

Chapter LXXXIV

Chapter LXXXV

Chapter LXXXVI

Chapter LXXXVII

Chapter LXXXVIII

Chapter LXXXIX

Chapter XC

Chapter XCI

Chapter XCII

Chapter XCIII

Part VI

Chapter XCIV

Chapter XCV

Chapter XCVI

Chapter XCVII

Chapter XCVIII

Chapter XCIX

Chapter C

Chapter CI

Chapter CII

Chapter CIII

Chapter CIV

Chapter CV

Part VII

Chapter CVI

Chapter CVII

Chapter CVIII

Chapter CIX

Chapter CX

Chapter CXI

Chapter CXII

Chapter CXIII

Chapter CXIV

Chapter CXV

Chapter CXVI

Chapter CXVII

Chapter CXVIII

Chapter CXIX

Part VIII

Chapter CXX

Chapter CXXI

Chapter CXXII

Chapter CXXIII

Chapter CXXIV

Chapter CXXV

Chapter CXXVI

Chapter CXXVII

Chapter CXXVIII

Chapter CXXIX

Chapter CXXX

Chapter CXXXI

Chapter CXXXII

Chapter CXXXIII

Chapter CXXXIV

Chapter CXXXV

Chapter CXXXVI

Chapter CXXXVII

Epilogue

Glossary

Acknowledgements

The story of
Silk Road
was many years in the making and I would like to thank those who finally got it into print. Firstly my agent Patrick Walsh, whose enthusiasm for my story saw it from his submission tray into the hands of the wonderful Anthony Cheetham at Corvus, Atlantic.

I would like to thank everyone at Corvus who worked on the project with me, particularly Nic Cheetham and Rina Gill, who both championed the book, and also my wonderful editor, Laura Palmer, who took it through, line by line. My thanks also to Richenda Todd for her comments and suggestions on the typescript. Thank you all. A special thank you also to Tim Curnow, my lifelong friend, who has been with me through thick and thin and knows this story, and the story of the story, better than anyone.

I would also like to thank the driver who took us out to the caves at Turpan and got us down off the hairpin cliffs after the steering rod on the 4WD broke. I wish I remembered his name now. Traumatic amnesia perhaps. Also many thanks to the bus driver out of Urumqi who somehow missed all that oncoming traffic despite driving on the wrong side of the road with his headlights on. Maybe less whisky at the rest stops next time?

This book is for my bella Diana, who mended my wing and showed me how to fly again.

PROLOGUE

Lyon, France

in the year of the Incarnation of Our Lord 1293

T
HEY FOUND HIM
in the cloister, lying on his back with ice in his beard. He was half-conscious, muttering about a Templar knight, a secret commission from the Pope, and a beautiful woman on a white pony. His fellow monks carried him back to his cell and laid him on the hard cot that had been his bed for the last twenty years. He was an old man now and there was nothing to be done. His eyes had the cold sheen of death. A brother went to fetch the abbot so that the old fellow might make his last confession.

It was cold as death in the room. The abbot knelt down beside him. Somewhere in the forest a fir bough crashed to the ground under its burden of snow. The old man’s eyes flickered open at the sound and the yellow glimmer of the candle was captured in the lens of his eye. His breathing was ragged in his chest and the abbot wrinkled his nose at the sour smell of it.

BOOK: Silk Road
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