Just in case you’re wondering, we’ll be re-running some of our best and most popular book reviews every other week from now on.  They will be described as our Legacy Mysterious Book Reports.  Send us a quick request if you have a favorite that you’d like to see again and we’ll do our best to re-publish it.


Legacy Mysterious Book Report No. 5

Published March 15th, 2021

The Ghost Moths

Mysterious Book Report No. 440

by John Dwaine McKenna

The Ghost Moths, (Blackstone Publishing, $27.99, 368 pages, ISBN 978-1-5384-6923-1) by Harry Farthing, is a painstakingly researched, carefully plotted and well-written issues-driven thriller that takes place among the towering eight thousand meter peaks of South Asia’s Himalayan Mountains.

The novel is about the occupied nation of Tibet . . . and it’s long struggle for freedom.  It begins with the discovery of a sacred object by a young boy in the mountains of Southern Tibet, just as the Chinese Communist Army comes in and claims the tiny country as its sovereign territory in the early 1950s, setting off a conflict which rages to this very day, with no ending in sight.

The focus then switches to the year 2014 and introduces a man named Neil Quinn.  He’s an Englishman, a climbing guide with many years of professional experience leading groups of high altitude summiteers to the tops of the world’s highest peaks . . . and the protagonist of the story.  As he’s leading a group back from the top of Mt. Shishapangma, he observes some Chinese soldiers machine gun three Tibetan yak herders to death.  Quinn records the massacre on his cell phone and forwards it to a woman named Henrietta Richards in Kathmandu, Nepal—the home of large numbers of expatriate Tibetans, Sherpas and Chinese spies.  She’s the acknowledged record keeper of all recognized full ascents of the world’s highest mountains, and a retired British Embassy aide who’s lived in Kathmandu for forty-plus years.  Together, Quinn, Richards and an American freelance journalist named Elizabeth Waterman team up to publicize the truth about the plight of Tibet and the ongoing search—in the face of ruthless and often deadly Chinese Communist opposition—for the next Dalai Lama . . . as well as the ongoing hunt for the Pachen Lama who was chosen by his Holiness the Dalai Lama, at age six in 1995.  The boy had disappeared in the Chinese mainland shortly thereafter.

Could the mysterious and ghostly images of a simple moth that keep appearing at critical times and in crucial places have a role to play in the ongoing conflict?  Are they somehow related to the shadowy group of climbers who called themselves ‘The Ghost Moths,’ and fought to save Tibetan culture and sacred objects during the so-called “Cultural Revolution” back in the 70s?  Is there any hope of escaping the attention of a sadistic Chinese army officer nicknamed ‘Yama’ . . . for the Tibetan Lord of Death?  The answers to all of those questions, and more, can only be found by reading The Ghost Moths.  It’s one of the most engaging, propulsive, and, dare we say it, educational novels to come along since The Great Wall was built.  The Ghost Moths is fiction with a bite . . . and a story the whole world should sit up and take notice of . . . because in a just world this novel would go viral.  It’s that good!


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