Mehrunissa seems destined to spend her life in a loveless and violent marriage, stuck in the backwaters of the city of Gaur far from the splendors of the Moghul court. When her husband is brutally assassinated her life is changed forever and she is summoned to the harem of the Jahangir, the new crowned Moghul emperor.
Jahangir, is now ruler over most of the Indian subcontinent. With wealth beyond the dreams of most men, he must be utterly ruthless if he wants to hold on to that power. As love blossoms between Mehrunissa and Jahangir she finds the power of the Moghul throne intoxicating and with Jahangir enjoying the pleasures of wine and opium she finds herself as de facto ruler of the Moghul empire.
As her influence grows she must careful manage the relationships between Jahangir and his ambitious sons but as Mehrunissa plots and schemes to maintain and increase her power she drives a wedge between Jahangir and his eldest son Khurram and the Moghul empire explodes into rebellion and war.
With Khurram growing in strength and rebellious nobles resentful of her influence seeking her downfall, Mehrunissa must use all of her guile and power if her and Jahangir are to maintain their grip on the Tainted Throne.
Tainted Throne is the fourth book in the Empire of the Moghul series but can easily be read on its own.
I have to admit not being a huge fan of the previous three books but I was pleasantly surprised by this book. This book is about relationships, how does a man of unparallelled power and wealth deal with sons who want that same power and wealth, especially when they become successful? Does he feel pride in their achievements or view them with suspicion and fear?
This is the dilemma facing Jahangir as his sons are successful on the battlefield but he has the added pressure of knowing that he had a failed relationship with his own father and rebelled against him. Will history repeat itself?
The main relationship in the book is between Jahangir and Mehrunissa. This is one of histories great love stories. From falling in love at first sight to their marriage, the love between them is evident throughout the book. The author really captures Jahangir’s astonishment as Mehrunissa refuses to act like a proper Moghul wife and hunts and rides with him, determined to enjoy every minute with him and as she proves her worth in the rule of the empire he is content to sit back and let her control the reins of power.
The book captures the unimaginably wealth and majesty of the Moghul court and the author fills it with an exotic cast of characters, from Indian princes, English adventurers, Portuguese monks to Hindu priests and scheming nobles.
If you want a book that is set away from the usual Euro-centric histories then I can highly recommend the Tainted Throne.
Tainted Throne is released in Paperback this week.