The year is 1548, and the Chinese Empire faces an imminent Mongol invasion. All that prevents the violent end of a dynasty is the Great Wall.

Unbound - A novel by John Shors


John Shors reimagined one of the world’s greatest love stories – the romance that inspired the Taj Mahal – in his critically acclaimed, international bestseller Beneath a Marble Sky. Now, with Unbound, Shors recreates an ancient and celebrated Chinese legend about a pair of young lovers separated by war and the Great Wall.

The year is 1548, and the Chinese Empire faces an imminent Mongol invasion. All that prevents the violent end of a dynasty is the Great Wall. Yet even this famed fortification has weaknesses, and against his will, a talented Chinese craftsman is taken from his home and wife, so that he may labor alongside the wall’s defenders.

Fan has been missing for a year when his wife, Meng, decides to do the impossible – to leave everyone and everything she knows in a daunting effort to find him. At a time when many women fear even stepping outside their homes, Meng disguises herself as a man and begins a perilous journey of deliverance.

As two armies gather at the Great Wall, the fates of Fan and Meng collide with a Mongol horseman seeking redemption, a Chinese concubine fighting injustice, and a ruthless general determined to destroy them all.


Unbound is utterly captivating–an epic, historical page-turner with a beating heart. I loved it.” – Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

“In Unbound, John Shors draws us inside the impassioned history of China’s Great Wall, through richly intertwined characters determined to live freely, and for love. A haunting tale of the enduring bonds that anchor and save us when all the other chains – poverty, enslavement, cruelty, degradation – have been broken. A gem of storytelling.” – Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife

“An elegant and compelling epic told with Shors’ trademark understanding of human nature and ability to create characters who touch our hearts. The setting – China’s Great Wall – is as much a personality in the tale as the husband and wife who live, and love, in its shadow. In Unbound, history comes alive and literally takes your breath away and breaks your heart at the same time.” – M.J. Rose, New York Times bestselling author of The Library of Light and Shadow

“Unbound is a story of love and intrigue, of loyalty and friendship, set against a background of the majestic Great Wall of China, told by someone who has written extensively about the romance of exotic places. Shors is the author of Beneath a Marble Sky, the bestselling novel about the Taj Mahal. His grasp of history and place are impressive. Under his pen, China is alive with crowded highways and colorful bazaars, with peasants and thieves, concubines and soldiers. The wall itself is a dragon, a living creation that repels China’s enemies… Unbound is both exotic romance and adventure story, as beautifully written as the author’s acclaimed Beneath a Marble Sky.” – The Denver Post

“An intense, historical page-turner… a legendary tale.” – The Shanghai Daily

“Colorado author John Shors has the gift. It is as simple as that… John has secured his place among popular American novelists of the decade with Unbound, his seventh novel that combines a growing respect of the beauties of the globe and the intricacies of the manner in which characters seemingly misplaced in locales seek to find themselves… There are many reasons to select books to read. Selecting Unbound celebrates our intellect, our passion, our need for knowledge of the past, and our luxuriating in brilliant prose. Highly recommended on every level.” – San Francisco Review of Books

“Shors scored an international bestseller with his debut, Beneath a Marble Sky, a complex, lushly told, exotic love story surrounding India’s famous Taj Mahal. The new novel (Unbound) offers many of the same pleasures, this time focused on another Asian icon, the Great Wall of China… As with Shors’ other novels, Unbound pulses with historical, cultural and natural detail… his fans will find it just as enticing and engaging as anything he’s ever written.” – The Boulder Daily Camera


Unbound can be purchased at:


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