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Nouman Smyles, Hostage to Celestial Turks (A Novel)

üçüncü bölümde Tonyukuk'un da anlatıldığı ingilizce roman


PUBLICATION- Nouman Smyles, Hostage to Celestial Turks (A Novel)

Posted by: Nouman Smyles <smyles(a)fsmail.net>
Posted: 28 Mar 2003

"Hostage to Celestial Turks" by Nouman Smyles

This is an ambitious book, raising the latest issues of militancy in Central
Asia and the mystic history of Celestial Turks

Publisher: 1stBooks Library

ISBN: 1-4033-7710-3 (Paperback); Price: $11.60
      1-4033-7711-1 (Hardcover); Price: $16.45

Extent: 224 pages

Book Description

The narrator of the novel is a translator, taken hostage by a militant
extremist group in Central Asia (possibly Xinjiang). He is allowed to
translate the statements and appeals of the guerrillas, so in the same book
he writes notes of his own in broken English - the only language he knows
that the guerrillas don't understand. Trying to understand why he is there,
the narrator recalls the last two years of his life. Two years before, he
came for the first time to Xinjiang to translate for Luke, an American
scholar interested in the history of the Celestial Turks, an ancient people
of Central Asia who followed all the religions of the world: Zoroastrianism,
Manichaeism, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Shamanism, etc.

There in Xinjiang Luke was arrested. The translator himself escaped with
only a mysterious sentence to death. He continued to live the life of the
translator/interpreter, a life that reflects the mosaic of the modern world:
from soccer to show-business. In his notes he tries to make sense of that life.

The second layer of the novel concerns the strange, mysterious destinies of
previous researchers of the Celestial Turks. Trying to find out what has
happened to Luke, the narrator descends a ladder whose rungs are previous
researchers: the Jewish Zev, the Russian monk Valaamov, the Buddhist Tenzig,
the Muslim At-Tahari. He finds out more and more about the Celestial Turks
but also discovers the tragic fates of their researchers, all either killed
or otherwise eliminated. Why? The narrator looks for the answer - which
might help him to understand his own fate...

The third layer of the novel, intertwined with the previous two layers, is
the story of the Celestial Turks themselves. The ruling triumvirate of the
Celestial Turks - the Emperor Bilge-Haqan, the Hero Prince Kul-Tegin and the
Wise, Old Tonyukuk - have created the greatest Empire of the Steppe,
extending from the Pacific Ocean to the Black Sea. But Prince Kul-Tegin
dies, and envoys from all neighbouring countries come to the funeral. After
the funeral, the Emperor tells them: "I conquered space, but I failed to
conquer time. I lost my brother. With your help I'm going to conquer
eternity. Bring all your wisdom to me!" He then takes them hostage, and they
start to translate their Holy Books.  Though the books are holy, the envoys
are real people; one poisons another, a third blackmails a fourth, a fifth
sleeps with a sixth... The Empire starts to corrode and crumble. Finally the
Emperor himself is killed by a traitor. The Wise Tonyukuk is the only
person, who understands everything; having realized that he cannot save the
Empire, he finds a way to turn defeat into victory. He calls it the Grand
Return. He swaps the envoys with their doubles and sends them off with their
proselytes to different countries, races, faiths. Nobody knows what he has
done. All this constitutes a hidden side of history, because these are not
earthly, but Celestial Turks. Therefore, everyone who even partially
discloses the secret is eliminated.

Author Biography:

Nouman Smyles is a writer, member of the Oriental literary-mystical group
"Conference of Refined"
(see: http://library.ferghana.ru/another/uzbek.html).
His book Customs & Clichés has been translated into Uzbek. He lives in London.

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