Twenty-nine-year-old Lily Lin lives in New York and works at the Shun Lee Palace as a waitress and makes $25,000 dollars a year. She lives in a small, rent-controlled studio apartment only 3 blocks from work, had a married boyfriend, Chris Adams, and was happy with her life except for maxed out credit cards and an unfinished novel she's been writing.
A year before, Lily had buried both her parents. Her father died of liver cancer and her mother of a massive heart attack a few months after her father passed away. At the time she was attending New York University working on her MFA degree. Since she had to travel to Hong Kong to bury both her parents, her creative writing teacher, turned lover, allowed Lily to graduate although she hadn't quite completed her novel, which was a requirement for her degree.
Upon returning home from work one day, Lily found a letter in her mail from a law firm in Manhatten called: "Mills and Mann" informing her that she was to receive a large sum of money - three million dollars!! The letter explained her benefactor was an aunt named Mindy Madison. Of course, Lily immediately thought it was some sort of joke as neither of her parents had ever mentioned any aunt. Besides that, Madison wasn't her mother's name which was Cai and hers was Lin. This was just too good to be true. She stuffed the letter in a book on her desk and put the whole thing out of her mind.
Two days later, Lily arrived home from work to find a message on her answering machine from a David Mann. He said he was from Mills and Mann Associates and was asking Lily to contact him about a large sum of money from her aunt, Mindy Madison.
The following day Lily went to their office and spoke with David Mann who told her this was very real, but there was more she needed to know. Her aunt had a stipulation in order for Lily to collect the $3 million dollars. She had to travel to China along the ancient "Silk Road" and was required to retrace the same routes her aunt took years before in order to collect the money. However, $50,000 dollars would be given to her now to finance the trip. Lily was also to finish this trip and the tasks required along the way in 6 to 8 months. She would get some information now and the rest of the itinerary and information when she reached China and met with another lawyer there named, Mr. Lo in Beijing. Lily agreed to the trip and signed the required documents.
A few of the tasks she had to complete were: scraping a small piece of clay from one of the famous terra cotta warriors; retrieve something at the edge of the Taklamakan desert; meet a blind fortune-teller on a certain mountain and tell him nothing but lies about everything. A week later, Lily was packed and on her way to China to begin this odd and dangerous journey.
This was an absolutely amazing journey and one of the best books I've read this year!!! You will be absolutely mesmerized by this story and will be shocked out of your chair at the ending. Please don't miss this one!
June 8, 2010