Top positive review
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A good read on an unusual period
on 5 October 2012
Having read a few of the reviews for this book, I was not certain what to expect. However, I was very pleasantly surprised. The overall story is a good one, based loosely on a number of factual early encounters between English adventurers and the various elements that made up Mughal India.
Unlike some of the other reviewers, I personally did not find the story slow; nor was I put off by the extended descriptive passages. For me, they added interesting extra detail, but also reinforced the idea that the English visitors were completely out of their comfort zone, and had to learn very quickly to get any respect from their hosts. Those that did not very quickly failed in their purpose. I also like to learn from my fiction and find new avenues of factual history to explore; this work gave me plenty of those.
The early history of Europeans in India is largely positive in the sense that most of them were keen to absorb much of what they saw in the culture; it was much later that the attitude changed to one of rulers and ruled as imperial racism took over. There are some passages in the book which rather clumsily presage these changes, but they don't spoil it.
I did feel that the intensity of the story tailed off a little towards the end - almost as if the author was unsure as to whether there was going to be a sequel or not! But this does not detract from the fact that it is a very rewarding read, and if you are an historical fiction fan, then this may give you a foray into a place and time that is quite rare in the genre.
If I read a book on my kindle I also briefly review the quality of the e-book. As seems normal, this one could have done with better proof-reading; too many spelling mistakes and layout errors and no navigable chapter breaks. However, they were not bad enough in this case to lose a star.