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A Singular Hostage Paperback – 7 Oct 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review; New Ed edition (7 Oct 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747267723
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747267720
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 12.8 x 19.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 456,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Mar 2002
Format: Paperback
A Singular Hostage combines well-developed characters, a compelling plot, and an environment that is both exotic and timely given current events in Afghanistan. Set in early Victorian India, just prior to Britain's entrance into The Great Game, this novel is an excellent portrayal of the relationship between the British in India and the Indian nobility. The prejudices and assumptions on both sides are deliciously outlined, but these are only the backdrop to the story itself.
What makes this novel outstanding, in addition to its beautiful depiction of life in 1838 India, is the fact that the story unfolds on two levels. On one level, it is the tale of one unusual young English woman, sent to India to find a husband amidst the important political events that are swirling around her. On another level, it is a quiet elucidation of Sufi mysticism, showing the power of the Brotherhood and the mysterious ways that it operates and profoundly affects people's lives.
I found it hard to put this book down and can't wait for its sequel. More of this story is clearly waiting to unfold. Don't miss it!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By ex nihilo on 21 Nov 2004
Format: Paperback
I bought this novel based on what other readers had said of it and, mainly, on the originality of the plot. I hoped I would find a story that would transport me to the India of the Raj, as FAR PAVILLIONS does. Alas, this was not so. The characters of this book are not round, especially so the main character Mariana. The author fails to flesh her out as a victorian young lady when she insists time and again, that her main trait, that which makes her a misfit in British society but should endear us to her, is that she is too warm-hearted and has an unfashionable, too-broad smile.
As proof of that, the author throws in some scenes in which we witness how Mariana feels for everybody, regardless of their social standing, to the point of actually hugging servants or village boys when she feels they are fellow-sufferers. It is not that a Victorian lady would not feel empathy for the pople "below her" in society, it is that she would certainly have shown it in other ways, for instance, with kind words.
But then, the author also tells us trait number two in Mariana's character: that she is too impulsive, which must account for the necessity of physical contact, I guess. It is not surprising, then, that her mother and aunt are worried about Mariana's prospects of marriage (although this does not extend to worrying about teaching her to be a real lady,with all the proper accopmplishements: she does not seem to draw, sew or study French, she does not seem to have a governess either; in fact, we are told that her days are spent rambling in the garden and being "warm-hearted" towards everybody that comes near her.). They decide that she will have a better chance of finding a good husband in India, where they are always short of marriageable ladies.
And thus we find the main character in India.
Read more ›
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Jun 2002
Format: Paperback
Thalassa Ali's story is a poignant, compelling and vivid picture of the contrasts and interplay of two very different cultures, the human bonds and passions that are common to them, and the pulls they make upon the central figure, a young English woman who is connected to both through the love of an Indian child whom she risks her life to protect.
--A (male) reader from Massachusetts
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By suzanne_1_ferlic@hotmail.com on 22 Mar 2002
Format: Paperback
Thalassa Ali's book opens up the mysterious world of Victorian India from both the English and the Indian perspective. The story balances the rigid, English aristocracy and its stifling rules and the mystical, spiritual world of Indian instinct and passion. The author's knowledge of the English and Indian adds colour and texture to both the characters and the settings. The story, an English girl's mission to find a husband and an Indian father's quest to retrieve his kidnapped son, makes for wonderful and intersting reading for anyone who likes a blend of history and culture along with passionate characters.
The book also gives an understanding of the intricate interface between western and eastern cultures. Present day world affairs are focused on this very region region (Pakistan, Afghanastan and India). Ali's work also gives much insight into the historical issues of nineteenth century India and helps to inform our thoughts as we think events as they play out in today's world affairs. "A Singular Hostage" is extremely timely given all that is going on in the world today. It is an excellent read and I am already eagerly awaiting the author's next book!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was not sure whether I would like this book and it took me a while to get into it but I am now thoroughly enjoying it.
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By C KHAN on 21 Jun 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The concluding book. Absolutely as gripping as the first two. Totally convincing and the story flowed, personally felt I was living the journey. Hope that Thalassa doesn't leave it tooling before her next book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting insight into the time, when she was viewed as forward and outspoken. Well written and a really good read.
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