The Rose of Tibet

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The Rose of Tibet
The Rose of Tibet.jpg
First US edition
Author Lionel Davidson
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre thriller
Publisher Gollancz (UK)
Harper & Row (US)
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover & Paperback)
Pages 315 pp
OCLC 6535757

The Rose of Tibet is a 1962 thriller by Lionel Davidson.

Plot summary[edit]

Charles Houston (a teacher in London) makes a perilous and illegal journey from India into the forbidden land of Tibet during the unsettled time 1950/51, in the hope of rescuing his vanished brother. What he does not know is that his coming was prophesied a century earlier, and he is awaited by an impossible love, an enormous treasure, and the invading Red Chinese army. Houston travels to the Yamdring monastery, finds his way to the abbess and makes a perilous escape with her. The story is set at the time of the Chinese invasion in 1950.

Critical opinion[edit]

Graham Greene said of the novel: "I hadn’t realised how much I had missed the genuine adventure story until I read The Rose of Tibet", while Daphne du Maurier wrote: 'It has all the excitement of King Solomon's Mines'[1]

Author Barry Gifford considers this book the one he wishes he had written. He has written about it in his collection of essays The Cavalry Charges and has called it 'a genuine work of literature. I was immediately charmed by the device Davidson employed to entice the reader into believing he's headed in one direction and then opening up an entirely unexpected can of bedazzling worms.' Gifford goes on to say 'I re-read The Rose of Tibet every few years and each time am transfixed, transported. Among so many books, poems and songs that I love, it's the one that I wish I'd written. The Rose of Tibet is also the one novel I'd really love to write the screenplay for.'[2]


  1. ^ Faber Finds - The Rose of Tibet Archived 2009-12-03 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ I wish I'd written... The Guardian - Saturday Books, July 25, 1998.