This book starts out with Dr. Charles Lucas; Department of Marine Studies at the Stanford University reading a diary entry dated 1906 written by Dr. Charles H. Gilbert. Dr. Gilbert was a Stanford professor of Marine Biology. Readers are transported back in time through Dr. Gilbert’s diary entries to a time when the Chinese were considered outsiders but who had lots of mystery surrounding them. The Chinese had many priceless artifacts in their possession like jade. Dr. Gilbert shares about his discover of some of the wonderful items he uncovered but what happens later when the items are forgotten? Only the cypress tree knows the secrets…In the Shadow of the Cypress Tree.

When I first read the summary for this book, I found it intriguing and then when I found out who the author was, I knew I had to check this book out. I have to admit that the only book I read of Mr. Steinbeck’s famous father’s work was Travels with Charley; a story about John Steinbeck taking a road trip with his full sized black poodle. I am in the middle of the road with this book. On the one hand I thought this book was interesting and at times read like poetry but on the other hand I found that it took my a little while to get into the story. The characters were alright but they were kind of like secondary to the story. This book is not character driven but more story driven. The switching between the past to present was a smooth progression for me. Mr. Steinbeck shows promise and talent with this debut novel. He shows that he can make a good name for himself like his father.


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