In 1632, the Emperor of Hindustan, Shah Jahan, overwhelmed with grief over the death of his beloved wife, Mumatz Mahal, commissioned the building of a grand mausoleum to symbolize the greatness of their love. The story surrounding the construction of the Taj Mahal occurs, however, against a scrim of fratricidal war, murderous rebellion, unimaginable wealth, and, not least of all, religious fundamentalism ruthlessly opposing tolerance and coexistence between the disparate peoples in the empire.
Critically acclaimed novelist John Shors’ travels in Asia add texture to this affecting tale of two Americans in Vietnam. A tale of sacrifice, rebirth, and above all inspiration, Dragon House connects with readers on the most human of all levels. When Iris’ father, a Vietnam vet, makes a dying wish that she take over the operation of a shelter for street children in Ho Chi Minh City, she agrees—and takes with her her long-time friend Noah, an Iraq War veteran.
In The Wishing Trees, Ian and his 10-year-old daughter Mattie are struggling with the passing of Kate—wife and mother—after her long battle with cancer. When Ian finally opens a letter Kate handed him before her death, he is surprised at the request inside: that he and Mattie travel across Asia while opening a series of letters from Kate, one at a time. As they complete each stage of the trip, they tie paper wishes to trees, which helps them come to terms with their loss.
During World War II, the hospital ship Benevolence is providing relief to victims in the South Pacific when she is torpedoed and sunk. Among the survivors are a troubled nurse named Annie and the wounded Japanese soldier named Akira who saves her life.