The second part of the empire of the Moghul quintet narrates the story of the Mughal emperor Humayun.
This tale begins where it left at the end of the first book,'the raider of the north'. Humayun the newly anointed Mughal emperor is trying to establish himself as the supreme ruler of the vast Mughal empire. The empire which his father bequeathed him lacks in nothing, it has limitless wealth, has a formidable military strength and stretch from the Khyber pass in the west to the Bengal in the east, one of the largest in the whole of India. For Humayun what can possibly go wrong except for the fact that his own half brothers are plotting against him to control the throne. And this commence the lifelong struggle of Humayun to ensure his survival as well as of that of his empire. Amidst the stench of trust, betrayal and struggle lies the immortal tale of Humayun's struggle to reestablish the his legacy.
Being a fan of historical fiction as a genre I always acknowledge the fact that the author of this genre faces a herculian task of weaving a fictional account of popular history, which is already known to the readers. So any scope of the intriguing story plot and surprises are nullified, which leaves the author with pretty much only narration to play with. What I mean is that this genre doesn't allow its author much of leverage to play with, Its' the narration with the addition of a few minuscule fictional characters along with some minor plot twist. That's all an author can afford , and that is all which differentiate a good historical fiction from an average one. And to my pleasant surprise Alex Rutherford scores in all the relevant departments, this book is fantastic read, not very detailed but detailed just to the right degree to make it a light read. The narration is good and the plot's pace is consistent throughout. I would even say this book is better than its predecessor.
The portrait of the protagonist Humayun is one of the scoring points of the book. the evolution of the frail young, opium addicted emperor to a seasoned and shrewd warrior is something which makes you admire him and overlook his anomalies. His love for his family and his passion for his legacy are unmistakable traits befitting a hero, who we all like to support and relate to. For me, this book provided a whole different perspective on Humayun's character which was unbeknownst to me .
Now that I have finished the book, I can move on to the third book of the series. Two down , Three to go.