I read this book about 2007-12-26. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 2007. This note was last modified Sunday, 30-Dec-2007 21:54:54 PST.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
A mystery, set in Tibet, featuring a german and two Americans (Navajo) and three Chineese and some of the locals even. The detective is a Politburo investigator who was disgraced and sent to the gulags years ago, and eventually unofficially released and ended up in Tibet, where he's now half an illegal monk.
The Americans are a professor and her uncle, and they're investigating relationships between Tibetan and their own religion and folklore (the author's note at the end suggests these similarities are quite real), and this gets in the way of a greedy village chief and his partner running the illegal gold miner's town on the mountain. This being Tibet, it's of course quite a mountain, with religious importance going back before Buddhism reached Tibet.
So a lot of people die, mostly losing their hands in the process, and a crazy monk eventually kills himself. There's just the slightest trace of a hint of a romantic relationship between the Chineese rocket scientist and the German. And old pilgrim's trail is rediscovered. The missing couple of tons of gold won't be recovered any time soon. And the detective wanders off into the sunset, pretty much, with no clear idea of where he's going or what he's going to do.
One of the things that makes this book compelling is the casual treatment of the trials and tribulations of living in a police state; the kind of people who get power, and how they use it, and how those above them use them, and so forth.
I'm rather anti-mystic, but the very strong beliefs of some of the characters here are never treated as definitely true by the author; they're a part of the character, not a confirmed part of the real world.