1943 -- the Year of the Ram. In the Temple of Sublime Truth, high in the Himalayas, a master monk prepares to transfer an ancient scroll to his young protégé. The scroll holds the key to an unspeakable power, one which in the wrong hands could destroy the world. According to prophecy, the young monk will become the steward of the scroll for the next sixty years -- five times the Year of the Ram. But to do so, he must sacrifice everything he has -- including his name.
Present day -- the Year of the Ram. It is time to pass the scroll and its secrets on to a new guardian, one chosen by destiny and revealed through the fulfillment of the three Noble Prophecies. But the bulletproof monk has no students. He's far from home, in another world, another time, and an old adversary from one of history's most evil chapters is closing in. Though he is hunted and alone, fate throws the monk together with a very talented but undisciplined -- and unorthodox -- young pickpocket named Kar. Could this be the disciple he's been searching for? Could Kar possibly have the strength and the will to be entrusted with this task? Can a common thief possibly be enlightened? Maybe -- but they may not survive long enough to find out.
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December 31, 2002
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Excerpt from Bulletproof Monk by J.M. Dillard
Waiting on the platform, Kar was already whistling a brisk, tone-deaf little melody by the time the subway car came screaming into the station. Bishop Square was his favorite station, and he watched as the doors of the train opened, and his plump and juicy prey came spilling out: Wall Street types, most of them, with thousand-dollar briefcases and glistening gold Rolexes on their wrists.
He hoisted his well-worn duffel bag over his shoulder and jostled his way into the crowd. He liked his work, he told himself; he was cheerful, he told himself. Today was just like any other day.
Truth was, for the past several weeks, a restlessness had come over him: he had begun to question himself, his life, why he lived as he did. This morning, he had crawled from his bed with an uncharacteristic tightness in his gut, a sense -- was it foreboding, or anticipation? -- that today everything was about to change.
He had scolded himself then: Quit with the sensitive jerk stuff -- so you feel your life is empty, blah, blah, blah. Quit letting your nerves get to you. You're just worried about getting caught, that's all. And it's not going to happen. You're too good.
It was bogus, this sense of guilt -- he hadn't exactly had an easy life. And he was at least decent enough to steal only from the rich -- me and Robin Hood -- who could easily afford to lose a twenty-thousand-dollar watch here, a Prada bag there, an Hermes scarf or a wallet loaded with cash and credit. Hell, they're probably all insured.