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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.
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on 4 December 2015
I am a lover of historical novels especially those based on fact which Moghul is. The storyline keeps moving a long at a brisk pace and one gets a real feeling for the opulence of 17th century India.
However there was one huge disappointment for me which rather spoilt the whole book and that was the use of American spelling and Americanisms! To come out with a phrase like they had them by the "Cojones" is plainly from another era, another culture and totally out of place. Candles and torches being "lighted" is just plain sloppy and lazy writing, they are lit! Considering the main character is an English sea captain and adventurer sent as an ambassador by King James I it shouldn't be too much to ask for the story to be written in English. If Mr. Hoover thinks this is too much like hard work too picky then I suggest he reads the Shardlake series by C.J.Sansom or even Dennis Wheatley's historical novels for pointers.
End of term report would read "Good effort but needs to try harder"
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 November 2011
I have read a number of books by Thomas Hoover and he is a very versatile author who researches his subjects thoroughly this one is no different but perhaps it needed more research than most. The story is not entirely fiction but a blend of fact and fiction which works well but I found some of the later parts of the book particularly with the politics where lots of names were very similar heavy going. It is a book that could have been much improved on the Kindle by linking unusual words to the essential glossary which I wish I had realised was there before I got to the end of the book. In parts I found it difficult to realise who was being described as it sometimes jumped rapidly from scene to scene.
It is however a book worth persevering with as it gives a fascinating insight into the culture and politics of India at the time before the Raj.
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on 20 September 2017
started very boringly and i couldn't work out what was happening, but once it got going - it was amazing and very gripping.

it is a mix of fiction with some inspirations from real life stories. it is spell binding at times. good book overall.
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on 7 May 2017
A very long winded tale about the first East India Company sojourn into India, The author goes on a bit about the music and dance of India about Raga's and Kama's. lost interest several times.
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on 28 April 2011
Blurb

India 1620: India is ruled by the son of the great Akbar, and is about to pass his crown to one of his sons. Brian Hawksworth, ship's captain and emissary of King James, must choose sides, but will he choose correctly? The future of England, and of India, depend on it.
He had come to India to open trade for "barbaric" England and squeeze out the Portuguese, who try to kill him at every opportunity. But once on land, he becomes captivated by the country and the people. The beauty and romance of the exquisite Moghul Empire seduce him from his material goals to a new quest for supreme sensuality in music, mystical visions, and sacred lovemaking.
From pulse-pounding sea battles, to tiger hunts, war elephants, harems and forbidden love--The Moghul takes you on a breath-taking tour of the India that existed before the British Raj.

This is a long book! I have to say I enjoyed the first third of the book, but then, for me, it got bogged down in Indian politics of the time and made the reading a slow progress.
The Moghul is not for the faint-heated and not one that you can easily put down for a few days and pick back up again. I did this and found myself lost. What makes it difficult is not only the foreign names, but the many characters. I am one who loves books that have numerous characters, but this book, with its unfamiliar place names and politics of the rulers of India at the time, was tough going in parts.
The descriptions are wonderful and at the beginning the plot is clear and enjoyable, but sadly the middle to the end of the book lost some of its magic because of the weight of intrigue and I lost interest in those fighting for the kingdom.
If the author had cut back on the politics I would have enjoyed the story much better.
I did learn much about the early times of India though, which was very interesting.
I read The Moghul by Thomas Hoover on my Kindle.
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on 12 November 2011
This is the first Thomas Hoover book I have read but it won't be the last. Hoover has clearly researched the period well and his characters have depth and realism. The book is a little long winded in places and could do with better editing. Some scenes change from one paragraph to the next with no spacing to illustrate a change of focus. You just have to bear with it and get used to it.
Overall well worth the effort to read it.
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on 21 December 2011
I have a fascination for historical fiction but have rarely found books better than CJ Sansom's Shardlake series. This was my first Indian history fiction - and it was quite fascinating. The story had all the elements of politics, intrigue, religion, romance that you would expect in a book of this kind. I probably appreciated it more because of my familiarity with the history around the Mughals and the Rajputs. The detailing in some of the areas could have been shorter - especially around the music and architecture. But loved the detailing on the food!! Other than these bouts of verbosity, it was a great read, especially the last quarter building to the climax. Even though the outcome is well known.
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on 24 September 2013
Tonight we are many, but in battle the many are nothing. In battle there is only the one. Each of you is that one.' Shah Jehan. Thomas has done a masterly job of bringing alive a lost era of splendour and glory of the Muslim power in 16th century India. A time of absolute Moghul power which both the Portuguese and the English fighting sought after. They never dreamed of taking over India. All they were after was trading rights. Thomas has demonstrated great cultural insight of the time. Read and enjoy the game of chauker, savour the treat Moghul cuisine, lust at Indian love making, and engross yourself with palace intrigues. I found it impossible to disengage from this page turner.
One strand of the story has the protagonist desperately seeking some miraculous piece of knowledge which could make it easier on the Europeans come to parity with the Muslim world. Reminds me of myself now trying to do the same in the Europe, deep down there is a desire for making a signs any discovery to get the underdeveloped Muslims upto par with the mighty West. What a contrast of fortunes.

The book does a great job of presenting India as an independent and resplendent culture with able leaders. I particularly liked the very confident and astute Moghul leadership was portrayed in the book, as well as equally able Rajputs and Persians as powerful power brokers of the era.

A most wonderful tale indeed.

I emailed the author to ask him why he choose to re-name the great Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jehan in this tale, to which the answer was:

'I renamed them because I made up stuff enough that it was not a true biography. I didn't want to publish things I made up as though it were the true. In historical novels things just have to come out the way they did. You can be creative about how they got there. I know Shah Jahan got the idea for the Taj from the Udaipur lake palace but I made up how or why he did it. I don't think anybody alive now knows. I stole the concept from Shogun. Not many readers are like you and know or care. I'm pretty sure there wasn't an Englishman there playing the sitar. (Which I have played myself.)' Thomas Hoover (9-9-13).
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on 1 August 2012
The Moghul is the story of a ship's captain Brian Hawksworth's attempts to acquire trading rights for the fledgling East India Company in Mughal ruled India, a world of palace politics, sex and saris. Though fiction the story is based on historical fact thus avoiding major clangers.

The book has a major fault, the story is hidden between large passages that read as mini essays on aspects of India in the 1600s. Although some of these asides are interesting they break the plot up and quickly become dull. It's a good read if you skim through them.
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