Friday, June 24, 2011

A Kingdom Divided-Alex Rutherford

A Kingdom Divided
Alex Rutherford
Dunne, Jul 5 2011, $25.95
ISBN: 9780312597016

In 1530 the Moghul Empire creator Emperor Babur dies. His twenty-three years old son Humayun is crowned the new Emperor. However, unlike his sire who was considered formidable by all, Humayun is considered weak by many in the inner circle because he is an opium addict and is a sex fiend with a vast harem though married to Hamida, and obsesses with an astrological dependency sated by his key advisor Sharaff the astrologer.

His three half-brothers (Kamrun, Askari and Hindal) unite to oppose him. Dishonoring his late father, Humayan and his army retreat from the wrath of the stronger forces of Bengal humble origin Sher Shah abetted by Kamrun the traitor. He remains in exile for years trying to regain his throne for himself and his heir Akbar until he realizes the Moghul Empire his father created for a thousand miles below Punjab is in peril.

The second Empire of the Moghul is an exciting historical thriller that continues the action from the first tale (see Raiders from the North). The story line is loaded with action especially the battle scenes and filled with a taste of life in the sixteenth century India subcontinent. Although one must wonder whether the opium warped his brain as Humayan meets the classic definition of insanity when he consistently forgives his siblings for their betrayal expecting their loyalty until the cycle repeats itself. Still fans of historical tales will enjoy team Alex Rutherford guiding readers through turbulent sixteenth century Asia.

Harriet Klausner

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