Release Date: 12/05/11
Keep your enemies close, and your sons closer...The story of the third great Moghul Emperor, Akbar, leader of a triumphant dynasty which contained the seeds of its own destruction. Akbar, ruler of a sixth of the world's people, colossally rich and utterly ruthless, was a contemporary of Elizabeth I, but infinitely more powerful. His reign began in bloodshed when he strangled his treacherous 'milk-brother', but it ended in glory. Akbar extended his rule over much of Asia, skillfully commanding tens of thousands of men, elephants and innovative technology, yet despite the unimaginable bloodshed which resulted his empire was based on universal religious tolerance. However, Akbar's homelife was more complicated. He defied family, nobles and mullahs to marry a beautiful Rajput princess, whose people he had conquered; but she hated Akbar and turned Salim, his eldest son, against him. What's more, as any Moghul prince could inherit his father's crown and become Emperor, his sons were brought up to be intensely competitive and suspicious of each other: to see eachother as rivals for the greatest prize of all. And, as Salim grew to manhood, the relationship between father and son became tainted by rebellion and competition to be the greatest Moghul of them all.
Having missed out on the second novel in the series I recalled my problems with the original in the authors disjointedness with the cast as well as plotline. I hoped that this would improve with this title but to be honest it felt pretty much more of the same old same old.
Whilst I’m not familiar with this particular piece of history it is always interesting to see what the author comes up with to help keep the piece fresh as well as rewarding for the modern audience. It does have some great combat, it does have some decent prose but yet again it’s the lack of character building that makes me wonder why I even picked this title up. If you want two dimensional then this will do the job but I prefer characters that stand out on their own two feet, the type of fully rounded hero who has cut their own slice of history and is determined to keep it in their own two hands. Add to this a bit more historical research and you can turn an OK novel into something great.