By 1889 Tibet is the last unexplored country in the world. Gabriel Bonvalot is determined to be the first Westerner to reach Lhasa but lacks a sponsor. When the Duke of Chartres promises to pay his expenses Bonvalot agrees, even after he learns he must bring along the Duke's wayward son, Prince Henri d'Orléans. Along the way Bonvalot meets Camille Dancourt, the wife of a missing surveyor, who attaches herself to the expedition in order to find her missing husband. During the journey the intrepid explorers are besieged by freezing temperatures, volatile winds, mountain sickness, hostile Tibetans, and duplicitous Chinese Mandarins. Nearing collapse, Bonvalot realizes they will have to resort to force if they ever wish to escape Tibet alive.
RACE TO TIBET is an adventure thriller that will take you on a suspenseful journey to the Roof of the World.
"Fans of Jules Verne’s travel adventures will find Schiller has done a solid job of transforming an obscure real-life Victorian expedition into a thrilling yarn." — Publishers Weekly
Hi Sophie! Thank you so much for taking the time to appear at Let Them Read Books!
How did you first learn about Gabriel Bonvalot's expedition to Tibet, and what inspired you to write about it?
What kind of research and sources did you use to bring the story to life?
|Prince Henri d'Orleans|
Did you learn anything in your research that surprised you?
|K2, 1909 Expedition|
I also was surprised at how many of these early explorers were really espionage agents in the Great Game (The rivalry between Russia and Great Britain for political and military supremacy in Central Asia.) I was also surprised to learn how much danger existed in these expeditions, with some of the explorers, missionaries, and caravan men ending up getting beheaded or hacked to death, or dying of dysentery, frostbite, or altitude sickness.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing this novel?
The most challenging aspect was setting aside everything else in my life and diving into the study of these amazing characters and their journey to the Roof of the World. Then I had to bring it all to life in the pages of a novel. That was very challenging but also extremely rewarding!
If you could pick any place in this world to explore, what would it be?
I would love to go to Tibet! I would also love to explore some of the Silk Road cities that appear in the novel, like Gulja and Korla in the Xinjiang Province, where you can still find the mud-bricked hovels and ancient bazaars that appear in the novel, and the Taklamakan Desert, where camel caravans still cross much the same way they did since the beginning of time.
What are you working on now?
I am working on a new historical adventure novel set in the West Indies called "Island of Eternal Fire". It takes place during one of the greatest natural disasters to occur in the Western Hemisphere in the early 20th century, one that has been largely forgotten today
We have a signed paperback of Race to Tibet up for grabs! To enter, see the GLEAM form below.
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 27th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
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Race to Tibet
About the Author:
Sophie Schiller was born in Paterson, NJ and grew up in the West Indies amid aging pirates and retired German spies. Among other oddities her family tree contains a Nobel prize-winning physicist and a French pop singer. She loves stories that carry the reader back in time to exotic and far-flung locations. She was educated at American University, Washington, DC and lives in Brooklyn, NY. She is currently working on a new historical thriller set in the Caribbean.
For more information visit Sophie Schiller's blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.
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