Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan

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Pub Date 14 Oct 2011 | Archive Date Not set


Chengli is an orphaned errand boy who lives in Chang’anChina in 630 A.D. His mother has died from illness and his father is presumeddead after disappearing into the desert when Chengli was a baby.

Now thirteen, Chengli feels ready for independence. He isdrawn to the desert, beckoned by the howling of strange winds and the hope oflearning something about his father—who he was and how he died.

Chengli joins the caravan to travel down the merchantroute known as the Silk Road, but it is a dangerous life, as his father knew.The desert is harsh, and there are many bandits, particularly drawn to Chengli’s caravan because a princess, her servants, androyal guards are traveling with them. This story invites readers to experience the sights, sounds,and smells of this fabled desert route.

Chengli is an orphaned errand boy who lives in Chang’anChina in 630 A.D. His mother has died from illness and his father is presumeddead after disappearing into the desert when Chengli was a baby.


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EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781933718545
PRICE $14.95 (USD)

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Average rating from 94 members

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It is rare to find entertaining historical fiction for children and this succeeds in that endeavor.

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Historical fiction set along the famous Silk Road of China brings to life the excitement of the journey. Thirteen year old Chingli decides it is time for independence, and he is drawn to the desert through which the route passes, especially since his father vanished on the Silk Route so many years ago. Danger, royalty, and a bit of mystery make this a fascinating read for those interested in Chinese history.

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Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan by Hildi Kang takes place in ancient China. Historical details add an intriguing layer to this coming of age story of a young orphan boy as he sets out on a dangerous journey to find his roots.

Chengli never knew his father, his mother died when he was very young, leaving him to be raised by a household cook. But Chengli feels pulled by the desert winds to head off to parts unknown in search of the truth about his father, and in a way, himself.

He leaves the safety of his servant life and charms his way into a caravan heading into the desert, hiring on as a camel and donkey drover. A boy his own age befriends him as the caravan makes its way out past the Great Wall into the vast emptiness beyond.

An imperial princess being escorted to her husband by the caravan soon demands Chengli attend her. He does his best, and learns the craft of negotiation from his new friend. But things are not all they seem. Intrigues abound. Chengli must decide between friendship, honor, duty and mere survival along the way.

The story is masterfully written. The plot takes unexpected turns that add to character growth and keep the reader glued to the book. And always in the back of Chengli's mind (and the reader's) is finding someone who can tell him about his father.

At the end, Chengli discovers who he really is, and manages to do so with his honor, integrity and limbs intact.

A thrilling read for a pre-teen or young teen.


Note: I received an ARC of this book for review from NetGalley.

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A very interesting book about the silk road in the tang dinasty, which could easily appeal a younger audience.

Chengli is 13, ready for indipendence and to discover more about his father. He went to a caravan, finding a job as a Camel Boy. The caravan will have to deliver a young emperial princess to her nomadic husband, a common practice back in that time and for several subsequent dinasties.

I enjoyed the book intensely: it was good with a strong mix of action, character development and historical accuracy. It shows diffenrent cultures in Asia and how the Silk Road "worked" remarkably well.

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