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Publisher's Summary

Walter of Gurnie, bastard son of an English peer, is forced to flee from Oxford for his part in the university riots of 1273. Inspired by Friar Bacon, he determines to travel to China. With his friend Tristam, he fights his way to the heart of the fabulous Mongol Empire and returns famous, to find that he must choose between the first love he thought lost and the exotic flower that he found in the East.

©1998 Thomas B. Costain (P)2010 Random House

Critic Reviews

"Solid in its facts, colorful and romantic...a rich and remarkable historical tapestry." (Christian Science Monitor)

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 03-09-13

Great Book

I first read this book in 1954 and the book hooked me on this author. I then proceeded to read all the books by Costain over the years. I did a book report on the book and then the next year the teacher called me in and asked me if I was aware that I had turned in a book report on this book the prior year. I said, " no" and the teacher said she would grade the report as it was obvious I had re-read the book and she could see how I had grown as I had obtain different information from the book. She suggested I keep a record of everything I read and include comments about the book. I have down that ever since.
This book starts off in 1273 with the riots at Oxford. Walter of Gurnie and his friend Tristan follow the advice of Friar Bacon and travel to China. The book is the story of their trip to China and the people, events and inventions the encounter on their way. They travel the silk road and meet with the Mongol general on this way to conquer part of China. They meet the Empress of China and are given gifts. On the trip Walter meets Miriam a half Greek and half English girl who he marries. The book also address in rising unrest of the common man in England against the landowners as well as other social issues of the day. Their adventure and escape and the long trip to reunite makes a great story I am sure you will enjoy.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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One of the finest works of fiction.

Although staring slowly, the work gained speed quickly. The "rope walk" was a truly captivating scene. The true history in both Roger Bacon and Bayan worked into the story perfectly. I shall enjoy the listening over and over. Many others will be introduced to "The Black Rose".

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great story, needed better sound editing

I have loved this story for years and was so excited to find an audible version of it. The narrator's voice isn't my favorite, though that is just an opinion. However, the sound editor didn't correct the way words with a 'p' sounded, which was like the microphone was fighting with the narrator's mouth. That was disappointing. As a long time audible listener I know it could have been done better and this story deserves the best. Overall, I love the story so much that I am happy with it and will listen to it again and again.

  • Overall
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Entertaining and informative

David Case does an inspired reading of
this interesting and romantic historical novel. I was in total suspense as to how things would turn out.