Tuesday, April 27, 2010
My Review : Empire Of The Moghul :Brothers At War
This book was eagerly awaited and as soon as I got a chance I went and bought this book to read the part two of the Moghul dynasty.It takes off from the time Humayun is declared the next emperor by Babur just before his death.Humayun was his son from his favourite wife Maham.Babur's decision to choose him over the rest of his sons doesn't go down well with the step brothers and they plot to kill Humayun.Humayun gets to know about the plot and instead of punishing them for it he ends up forgiving them and also gives them separate states to rule.This probably would be one of the many wrong decisions he ends up taking during his reign. After a few years into his rule he gets addicted to opium thanks to his step-mother Gulrukh and starts to believe that messages were written in the stars and his eccentricity continues when he organises his administrative department based on the four elements of earth,fire,air and water.He starts dressing in certain colours on certain days.While he is lost in his opium induced world he gets a jolt from the real world when he loses his kingdom to Sher Shah which eventually leads to his exit from India.
So what follows is Humayun's struggle to snatch back the reigns of his kingdom from Sher Shah.Humayun was a king who would plot, plan and contemplate a lot but his execution was very poor.He was hardly anywhere close to his father as a warrior.He does end up winning the kingdom back but not because of his great warrior skills but because of the initial support he receives from Shah Tamasp of Persia as well as the death of Sher Shah and the uncertainty following his death.What is indeed sad is Humayun's death due to a bad fall just six months after he captures Delhi and is declared the padishah of Hindustan.
Humayun died on 24th January 1556.Humayun's Tomb,his white sandstone mausoleum is still a very well known place in Delhi .
I read these lines somewhere on his manner of dying which is sadly true of Humayun's reign as the emperor and it is how he is remembered in history 'Humayun stumbled out of life just like he stumbled through it...'
The book is beautifully descriptive,well researched,each character beautifully etched and simply written which makes reading very enjoyable and almost gives you a sense of being there in that era.Unfortunately the book is not as good as the first though it would be unfair to blame the author.Humayun would probably be the weakest link in the dynasty.He comes across as indecisive,selfish,inward-looking,low self esteem and a weak character which is the reason for the book being a step below the first.The characters that stand out are surely the women in Humayun's life- Khanzada,his aunt and Babur's sister,Salima his favourite concubine,Hamida his beloved wife.Inspite of the weak character that Humayun was the author has managed to keep the reader engaged till the very end of the book.
It should definitely be in your must read list if historical fiction interests you even if it doesn't the 'Empire of The Moghuls' series will definitely get you hooked.I am now looking forward to their third book on Akbar, the next emperor after Humayun's death.
Read our review of their first book here