From Publishers Weekly
Sundaresan picks up the story of Mehrunnisa, the remarkable heroine from her debut novel, Twenty Wives, as the so-called "Light of the World" consolidates her power as wife of Emperor Jahangir of the Mughal Empire in 17th-century India, only to see her dominion destroyed by her own aggressive tendencies. The early chapters find Mehrunnisa confronting two rivals, who happen to be old friends of her husband, and eliminating them in a brief series of power struggles. She also talks Jahangir into letting her appear at the jharoka ceremony, in which the emperor presents himself to his subjects, an unprecedented achievement for a woman. Her problems start when Jahangir falls seriously ill and the battle for succession to the throne begins, a struggle that comes to a head when Mehrunnisa fails to marry off her daughter, Ladli, to one of the primary contenders, Prince Khurram. The battle for succession escalates, but even as Mehrunnisa maneuvers to keep power, her downfall is sealed by a pivotal incident in which she accidentally kills a palace intruder. The novel's scope and ambition are impressive, as are the numerous period details and descriptions of the various cultural ceremonies that distinguish court life in royal India. But Sundaresan delves into too many palace intrigues in this overplotted affair, which seems especially cluttered in the first half, and her florid, busy writing style produces some uneven, tedious stretches. The book's setting brings to life an underexplored period in fiction, however, and readers who enjoyed the first volume will find similar pleasures tracking the fate of one of history's most intriguing women.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
A lovely book that is a sequel but I felt it to be quite readable on it's own. A fictional account ofr the background love story of the Taj Mahal.