Saturday, May 30, 2009

Book 55: The Feast of Roses

The Feast of Roses by Indu Sundaresan

This is the follow up to the novel The Twentieth Wife that I recently read. In this book, Sundaresan takes up where she left off in the first novel, and tells the story of Mehrunnisa and Jahangir's marriage. She quickly gained political power and say, and became the most important of Jahangir's wives. She was definitely rather astute politically but her presence as a woman of course raised quite a few eye brows and made some men at the court rather unhappy and uncomfortable. While Mehrunissa usually made smart decisions, she also realized that all her power came from her husband, and both he and she realized that with his death, she would be on her own unless she could somehow bind herself to his successor. It is in this case where Mehurnissa makes a few political misjudgments and gambles on the wrong people, and makes a few enemies she shouldn't have.

When it comes to money and power, family loyalty plays little role in this novel. The novel also talks about some of the Portugese and English visiting India and attempting to make alliances, some more and some less successfully. Mostly, however it is focused on internal politics and Mehrunissa's partnership with her husband.

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