The King's Last Song by Geoff Ryman Harper, HK$128 Visitors to Cambodia would have more of a three-dimensional view of the country if they read The King's Last Song, Geoff Ryman has said. And his self-promotion is justified. Taking time out from his science fiction and slipstream literature (the fiction of strangeness), Ryman ties stories from present-day Cambodia to the Angkor Wat era. Binding 800 years of history is a memoir written on 155 gold leafs by Jayavarman VII, the saviour of Angkor and Cambodia's first Buddhist king. Discovery of this treasure leads to the abduction of its keepers, a Cambodian general and Luc Andrade, an anthropologist who is made to translate Jayavarman's song so modern Cambodians will understand it. Jayavarman's story cuts through the present to show how the 12th-century ruler built the majestic temples at Angkor. Common to books with bifurcated narratives is the reader's preference for one or the other, which can result in only a semi-fulfilling read. Also, Ryman sometimes leaves out for too long strands that may have piqued the interest of the reader early on.