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Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan
Hildi Kang

Tanglewood Press
August 2011 ISBN: 1933718544
Pre-teen up / Historical fiction / China

Reviewed by Willie Elliott

Inspired by her own trip down the Silk Road, Hildi Kang has written a book in Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan that offers mystery and bravery, things that attract the targeted age group (ages 8 and up).

Chengli is an orphan who lives in Chang'an, China in 630 A.D. His mother has died from illness, and his father is presumed dead after disappearing in the desert. At the age of thirteen Chengli is called to the desert by the howling wind. Chengli hopes to learn about his father—who he was and how he died.

Chengli joins a caravan to travel the Silk Road. The author places her character where he is able to do the daring and honorable. The reader gets a sense of what it must have been like to travel the desert route in those days.

The novel takes on an added tension when a princess joins the caravan. A great deal of the action revolves around the relationship between Chengli and the princess. Some readers, no doubt, would have liked a different outcome of this relationship, but she was a princess and he was a commoner.

The addition of a friend who is a thief and betrayer is added in order for the author to point out how much honesty meant to Chengli —a trait he inherited from his father. This is an excellent book for the age group for which this book is intended.

Reviewed 2011
© 2011