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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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A brilliant read. I was straight into the story from the start although as the story progressed I did get a little hazy on Winter's forebears - however there is a handy family tree to consult! The story just got more exciting as the book went on - I can't believe that the publishers originally thought it was ok to cut 55% of the manuscript .... nooooo !! The last quarter was incredibly horrific and suspenseful and I could hardly put the book down. I am aware that Far Pavilions is the more famous book but I haven't read it - I am certainly going to order it now. What I loved about the book is how incredibly well it evokes the sights and sounds of India and how even-handed the treatment is of everyone involved in the Indian mutiny - Indian War of Independence - describe it how you will - men are good and bad, cruel or compassionate irrespective or race and creed.
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on 9 April 2017
An absolutely incredible story set in England and in India set before and then during the mutiny. Fabulous settings in high detail . Impossible to put down.
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on 19 September 2017
Beautifully written and quite riveting. Could not put it down. An excellent book and thoroughly recommended to any reader. Authentic.
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on 30 April 2017
Looking forward to reading this book
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on 29 April 2017
A good read
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on 18 June 2015
Not as good as The Far Pavilions but still an enjoyable epic romance. Even if it is a bit far fetched! Delivery was good.
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on 29 February 2016
I read this straight after finishing Valerie Fitzgerald's 'Zemindar', desperate to continue my literary foray into the events surrounding the 1857 Sepoy Rebellion. 'Zemindar' is a substantially better book, both in terms of craft and characterisation, so I realise that my initial take on 'Shadow of the Moon' might be clouded somewhat. I was certainly disappointed on many levels.

First up, the romantic leads never rang true. Both were too beautiful, too perfect, too 'Mary Sue.' We are constantly reminded about Winter's exotic allure. Her physical appearance is paramount throughout and seems to determine much of her storyline and other characters' responses to her. I had little real sense of her as a multi-dimensional character. Alex fares better on this front but is too much the ideal hero prototype, and his oh-so-brilliant foresight into the realities of Indian society and his coincidental involvement in observing the seeds of the coming conflict are delivered in a heavy handed 'Titanic' style - it's a shortcut to explaining the background to the Indian rebellion, but it's extremely laboured.

The secondary characters do little to improve matters: a range of well-worn stereotypes.

M M Kaye clearly has considerable knowledge of India and its history. Some descriptive passages are highly effective. However, there are clunky detours into historical exposition and unexpected narrative standpoints which jar. The story doesn't quite know what it wants to be: a full-blown record of the events of 1857, or a smaller-scale love story with the rebellion as a larger-than-life, dramatic backdrop. The writer's attempt to craft these together is both unsubtle and, ultmately, unconvincing.

The opening sections focusing on Winter's origins are ridiculously overblown and overlong. I've read that there's an abridged version of the novel which cuts this out, which would have made for a less arduous and frustrating read.
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on 5 October 2013
It is a lot of romantic nonsense but you will have to allow for her age when she put it out. It is a kind of pasttime but hardly
needs a second read.


Henrik Mortensen
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on 28 April 2006
This is a must-read for anyone who likes a deeply engaging story against a fascinating historical backdrop- British India and the days of the Indian Mutiny in this case. M.M.Kaye is undoubtedly a gifted author who has a way of creating beautiful imagery and invoking the sounds, smells and sights that transport the reader into the world of her characters. Everytime i have read this book, i have longed with almost a childish longing to go back in time to see the India of that day and meet Winter and Alex, the two main characters of the novel despite the fact that they actually go through a gruesome experience of war and bloodshed.

This novel has been a refuge many a times when I have wanted to escape and lose myself in another world. M.M Kaye does not leave any charcter or situation half-baked and even though sometimes some of the minor characters such as English Mama's come across as stereotyped, they are very very real and one cannot help but form a strong bond with them, suffer, laugh, cry and rejoice with them.

I love this book!
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This is a superlative work of beautifully written, well-researched historical fiction by the author of the best selling, sweeping epic, "The Far Pavilions". The author was born in India, where she lived most of her life. Her love of that country is evident in her loving, descriptive passages of the land of her birth. Her assessment of Anglo-Indian relations during the time of the British Raj is infused in the characters of her spellbinding novel. With exotic, mid-eighteenth century India as a backdrop for most of this engrossing story, the reader is swept away by its beautifully descriptive narrative. It is in India that the fate of a beautiful, young, Anglo-Spaniard heiress with the improbable name of Winter Ballasteros and that of Captain Alex Randall, a commissioned officer with the East India Company, are irrevocably intertwined.
Born in India and orphaned at an early age, Winter is brought up in England but is always longing for the land of her birth. The opportunity to return home to India presents itself when she is betrothed at a tender age to the debauched Conway Barton, the grasping Commissioner of Lunjore, who is many years her senior. Captain Randall, who is sent by the Commissioner to escort his betrothed to India, is loathe to do so, knowing the Commissioner to be no fit husband for a seventeen year old girl, Moreover, Captain Randall is keenly sensitive to the potentially dangerous feelings of unrest that seem to be sweeping India, as its native population begins to chafe under the insensitive rule of its colonial masters.
Once in India and against a backdrop of native unrest, Winter and Captain Randall slowly begin to develop a relationship. When the Sepoy Rebellion of 1957 occurs, Winter and Captain Randall are thrown together. They discover that they must struggle to survive the madness and bloodlust that is all around them, as they witness atrocities beyond comprehension. The author gives a vivid re-creation of the Siege of Delhi, as well as a plaintive telling of the massacre of women and children at Cawnpore, a horrific bloodbath from which even the natives themselves shrank. It is against this tumultuous, historical backdrop that the personal drama of Winter and Captain Randall is juxtaposed.
With a wonderful cast of Indian and Anglo characters, the author gives the reader a sense of the vastness of India with its many different religions and castes. She successfully depicts the colonialist attitudes that would serve to unite Indians whose paths might not ordinarily cross and galvanize them to take violent action in an attempt to break the oppressive, colonial yoke. The Sepoy Rebellion of 1857 would be a lesson that England would long remember.
This is a riveting novel that those who love well-written historical fiction will enjoy, as will those who simply love a well told tale. Bravo!
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