Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan
630 CE, the fifth year in the reign of the Emperor Taizong, is believed to be a year lucky for merchants’ businesses. Chengli, an orphaned Chinese boy in Chang’an city, and Little Limp have been partners since they were five or six years old, working for the wealthy silk merchant, Yan. Only Chengli, however, constantly hears the ghost wind or desert demon from the far, far north and wonders if it’s time to follow the spirit wind to find out what it wants from him.
Chengli joins Master Fong’s caravan, which has been ordered by the emperor to convey Princess Meiling to marry King Galdan, ruler of a nomad tribe in the mountains north of Kashgar. The journey begins with much grumbling and occasional combative scenes until the travelers enter the oasis city, Dunhuang, where Chengli and his friend manage to get tickets to the party at Singing Sand Dunes. There he learns of a theft that turns a friend into an enemy and forms a friendship with the princess who formerly treated him as an adversary.
From here begins an exciting and intriguing mystery, wherein Chengli enters Kucha, a city famous for its music. A kidnapping, several unexpected murders, revelations about Chengli’s father and a formidable trial follow. Chengli learns the adept horsemanship skills that his father was renowned for. Chengli also behaves consistently with his father’s exceptional sense of integrity. Hilda Kang has written a young adult historical fiction novel that will thrill every reader who loves stories about young, heroic characters living in exotic lands of long ago. Delightful!