REVIEWS – Beneath a Marble Sky

Beneath a Marble Sky

“(Beneath a Marble Sky) easily made it into my top ten favorites. Why? Perhaps because the prose reads like poetry, or perhaps because this is a work of art, where the story engages you, the characters come alive, and what happens next will surprise you. Here is a story crafted to stay with you a lifetime. I find it incredible to find that this is John Shors’ first novel. It’s so well written, that you’re going to want to keep it on your shelves for a second read, and then maybe a third.”
– CompulsiveReader.com

“(A) spirited debut novel… With infectious enthusiasm and just enough careful attention to detail, Shors gives a real sense of the times, bringing the world of imperial Hindustan and its royal inhabitants to vivid life.”
Publishers Weekly

“Jahanara is a beguiling heroine whom readers will come to love; none of today’s chick-lit heroines can match her dignity, fortitude and cunning. Elegant, often lyrical, writing distinguishes this literary fiction from the genre known as historical romance. It is truly a work of art, rare in a debut novel.”
The Des Moines Register

“Agreeably colorful … (with) lively period detail and a surfeit of villains.”
Kirkus Reviews

Beneath a Marble Sky is a story which literally speaks to you. In his first novel, John Shors brilliantly recounts one of the world’s greatest love stories, narrated against a backdrop of hatred and violence.”
India Post

“Highly recommended…. (Beneath a Marble Sky) is a thrilling tale of the interaction of characters recognizable for their loyalty, duplicity, and passion and will appeal to a wide audience.”
Library Journal

Beneath a Marble Sky is a passionate, lush, and dramatic novel, rich with a sense of place. John Shors is an author of sweeping imaginative force.”
– Sandra Gulland, author of The Josephine B. Trilogy

“Shors…creates a vivid and striking world that feels as close as a plane ride. Most important, he manages to convey universal feelings in a tangible and intimate way. Shah Jahan’s grief isn’t just that of a man who lived centuries ago; it’s a well of emotion felt long before Mumatz Mahal ever lived, and is still felt today. Shors’s ability to tap into that well, and make it so alive, renders the novel as luminous a jewel as any that adorn the Taj Mahal’s walls.”
ForeWord Magazine

“(A) story of romance and passion. (Beneath a Marble Sky) is a wonderful book if you want to escape to a foreign land while relaxing in your porch swing.”
St. Petersburg Times

“A majestic novel that irresistibly draws the reader within its saga of human struggles, failings, alliances and betrayals.”
Midwest Book Review

“(Beneath a Marble Sky) is an absorbing novel about the extremes of passion – with much relevance for our own time.”
Denver Rocky Mountain News

Beneath a Marble Sky definitely qualifies as a good read.”
The Boulder Daily Camera

“It is difficult to effectively bring the 21st-century reader into a 17th-century world. Shors accomplishes this nicely, taking the armchair traveler into some of the intricacies involved in creating a monument that remains one of the architectural and artistic wonders of the world.”
The Denver Post

“Evocative of the fantastical stories and sensual descriptions of One Thousand and One Nights, Beneath a Marble Sky is the story of Jahanara, the daughter of the 17th century Mughal emperor who built India’s Taj Mahal. What sets this novel apart is its description of Muslim-Hindu politics, which continue to plague the subcontinent today.”
National Geographic Traveler

“This sweeping love story takes place in 17th-century Hindustan during the building of the Taj Mahal. Princess Jahanara, the emperor’s daughter, tells her parents’ saga and shares her own story of forbidden love with the architect of the legendary building.”
St. Paul Pioneer Press

“A sumptuous feast of emotional imagery awaits the reader of Beneath a Marble Sky, an unabashedly romantic novel set in 17th century Hindustan, inside the warm sandstone of its Mughal palaces.”
India West

“The Taj Mahal is one of the great achievements of the world. Its beauty and its demonstration of love to a deceased wife, mother and queen are moving examples of the desire and ability of people to overcome the constraints of cruel nature through their own creativity, determination and self-sacrifice. And yet few people in the west know much about its creation, the woman who inspired it or the people in whose city it continues to radiate beauty and grace. This new novel by John Shors aims to tell that story and does so with considerable expertise. (A) most entertaining read and recommended to all readers who enjoy historical fiction… (An) enjoyable and exciting novel.”
– BookIdeas.com

“This novel skillfully delves into Eastern aristocracy, culture and religion. The story is told in Titanic fashion by Jahanara, the eldest daughter of the emperor who built the Taj Mahal… Shors enthralls with his first novel, based on age-old Asian love story. Those familiar with Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth will find strong correlations between the novels. This is a page-turner.”
Romantic Times

“A sumptuous feast of emotional imagery awaits the reader of Beneath a Marble Sky, an unabashedly romantic novel set in 17th century Hindustan, inside the warm sandstone of its Mughal palaces.”
India West

“This novel skillfully delves into Eastern aristocracy, culture and religion. The story is told in Titanic fashion by Jahanara, the eldest daughter of the emperor who built the Taj Mahal… Shors enthralls with his first novel, based on age-old Asian love story. Those familiar with Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth will find strong correlations between the novels. This is a page-turner.”
Romantic Times

“The Taj Mahal is one of the great achievements of the world. Its beauty and its demonstration of love to a deceased wife, mother and queen are moving examples of the desire and ability of people to overcome the constraints of cruel nature through their own creativity, determination and self-sacrifice. And yet few people in the west know much about its creation, the woman who inspired it or the people in whose city it continues to radiate beauty and grace. This new novel by John Shors aims to tell that story and does so with considerable expertise. (A) most entertaining read and recommended to all readers who enjoy historical fiction… (An) enjoyable and exciting novel.”
– BookIdeas.com

“The ornate prose of John Shors introduc(es) us to a different world – a world filled with romance and intrigue, cruelty and love.”
– BookReporter.com

“John Shors has written a beautiful story of the lives of those most involved in the creation and building of the Taj Mahal. The story … made me want to check out the area personally!”
– Bookloons.com

“The author has obviously done in-depth research of the Taj Mahal and its history. In addition to his fascinating storyline, he weaves in many details about the planning and building of this unique architectural masterpiece. From the exquisite white marble brought in from the quarries of Makrana to the gold and precious gemstones decorating it, Shors enables his readers to visualize the profound wonder of it all. He also depicts the political climate in a clear and concise manner so that readers can better understand the Mogul empire that reigned supreme during this period of India’s history. I can highly recommend this novel, a real page-turner throughout.”
Historical Novels Review

Beneath a Marble Sky brims with action and intrigue befitting an epic era when, alongside continuous war, architecture and its attendant arts reached a pinnacle of perfection.”
NewPages.com

Beneath a Marble Sky is a fantastic historical tale that may be the best the genre offered in 2004.... The story line vividly describes the Indian subcontinent in the seventeenth century where love, intrigue, and betrayal are key elements. Mr. Shors has transported readers to a different time and place as he paints quite a picture to illuminate the events surrounding the construction of the Taj Mahal.”
– BookReview.com

“Author John Shors writes like a veteran in Beneath a Marble Sky, his gorgeous, wily first novel.”
– ReviewersChoice.com

“(T)his is a fascinating novel of historical fiction and I highly recommend it.”
– MostlyFiction.com

“Filled with the harsh beauty of the desert and the inimitable Taj Mahal, Shors guides the reader through the Scheherazade-like mysteries of the Middle East: the luxuries of the harem, the clashing swords of war and the ties of love that cannot be broken.”
– CurledUp.com

“(T)his is a fascinating novel of historical fiction and I highly recommend it.”
– MostlyFiction.com