Dalrymple has researched and written a masterpiece of Anglo-Indian history. This is a gripping story of love and multi-cultural respect born at the end of that era. The coming of Wellesley to India and the changing attitudes toward race and religion destroyed what multi-cultural understanding existed. The demise of that era precipitates the cultural mistrust and misunderstanding of Forster's "A Passage to India". Kirkpatrick leads a tragic life but experiences true love and family devotion before his demise. Khair un-Nissa leads and even sadder existence because she must survive his death and the departure of their two children to England. Many lessons for modern life from this beautifully-written and well-researched book. Like everything he has written, this book exceeds even high expectations.
If you are at all familiar with the charms and frustrations of life in this corner of the mediterranean, you will find this books rings quite true! Either way, Richard Swartz's novelized experience into this corner of life in Istria makes a good, if light, read.