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Journeys on the Silk Road

A desert explorer, Buddha's secret library, and the unearthing of the world's oldest printed book

By Joyce Morgan and Conrad Walters

When a Chinese monk broke through a hidden door in 1900, he uncovered one of history's greatest literary secrets: a thousand-year-old time capsule of life along the ancient Silk Road. Inside the chamber on the edge of the Gobi Desert, documents were piled from floor to ceiling. The gem among them was the Diamond Sutra of 868 AD, now recognized as the world's oldest printed book.

The sutra, a key Buddhist teaching, was made nearly 600 years before printing transformed European civilization. The book's journey — by camel through treacherous deserts, by boat to London's curious scholars, by train to evade the bombs of World War II — merges an explorer's adventures, political intrigue and continued controversy.

The words of the Diamond Sutra have inspired Jack Kerouac, Aldous Huxley and the Dalai Lama. Its path from East to West has coincided with the growing appeal of Buddhism in the contemporary world. As the Gutenberg Age cedes to the Google Age, the discovery of the Silk Road's greatest treasure is an epic tale of survival, a literary investigation and an evocation of the traveling power of the book.

 
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BEST SELLER

Journeys on the Silk Road hits sixth position on the best sellers list for ebook non-fiction as of February 20, 2014.
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REVIEWS

"Morgan and Walters's narrative is a captivating biography of the intrepid [Aurel] Stein, an intriguing history of the Sutra and the political and social upheavals that surrounded it, and an enthralling travelogue in its own right"
Publishers Weekly

"What would it have been like if Indiana Jones had gone on a Buddhist adventure? Journeys on the Silk Road, from Australian journalists Joyce Morgan and Conrad Walters, gives us an idea."
Tricycle magazine

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