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By Valerie Fitzgerald

A global bestseller and winner of the Georgette Heyer ancient Novel Prize.

A incredible, twisting, turning love tale unfolds amid the unique splendour of the British Raj.

Englishwoman Laura Hewitt accompanies her newly engaged cousin to India, first to Calcutta after which to the fabled fiefdom of Oliver Erskine, Zemindar - or hereditary ruler - of a personal country with its personal military. yet India is at the verge of the Mutiny, so as to sweep all of them up in its chaos.

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Or fairly, I may still say Lucknow, as I take it you are going to accompany your family up-country? ’ ‘Certainly. i'm awaiting it. there's a huge English neighborhood in Lucknow, is there no longer? yet even with that it truly is an Indian urban? ’ ‘Very a lot Indian—not in any respect like Calcutta, as you'll find. Calcutta, although it has after all a wide local inhabitants, is in essence a eu urban, and a really new one as this stuff are counted in India. The structure, the plan of town etc are all ecu in idea, with convinced transformations, as a result of weather after all. yet Lucknow is all Indian. The structures are implementing, enormous—romantic, i assume. Its structure is a a little bit debased kind of rich person, and because it used to be till so lately an self sustaining nation, British effect has now not but made any effect at the urban itself. It has, like different local kingdoms, had an organization connection for a few years, however the majority of Europeans are both at the Resident’s employees or within the military, and the military humans dwell of their personal cantonments, far from town right. ’ ‘Good. i'm joyful to listen to that. ’ ‘Why? ’ ‘Because i would like to determine the true India—the Indian India. ’ ‘As to that—well, you have got a good chance in case you stopover at Mr Erskine on his property. And, finally, your cousin’s husband intends to make his half-brother’s acquaintance, so what can be extra traditional than a trip to his property? ’ I must have remained silent. One are usually not talk about one’s connections with even the kindest of associates, yet something—perhaps the newness of the scene, which impelled an odd feeling of being by some means ‘out of myself’—prompted me to attempt and notice extra of this enigmatic half-brother of Charles’s. ‘There is a brilliant deal extra to be identified of Mr Erskine than you divulged to Charles final evening, is there now not, Mr Roberts? ’ Now i'm really not coquettish by means of nature or acquirement, yet I confess to attempting to sound a trifle pert whilst asking this query. i have to have succeeded, for Mr Roberts confirmed no signal of annoyance yet simply smiled in a conspiratorial model. ‘A good deal extra, my pricey younger lady,’ he agreed, ‘but you want to no longer anticipate me to reveal it to you! ’ ‘Oh! ’ obviously sufficient, i used to be left with the influence that what there has been to reveal was once under flattering, so i couldn't go away it there. i assumed of trying one of these pout that Emily used to be so solid at whilst disillusioned, yet understanding that this is able to make me plainer than traditional, smiled in its place. ‘May I ask you a few questions then? ’ ‘Fire away! ’ he spoke back, convinced that i'd detect not anything of curiosity during this type. ‘You understand Mr Erskine merely by means of rumour? ’ ‘That is right. ’ ‘Do many of us comprehend of him then? ’ ‘In definite circles. ’ ‘He is influential? ’ ‘Again—in convinced circles! ’ ‘He can't be a tender guy. ’ ‘From the place I stand he seems to be so. ’ ‘And but he can't be previous, both? ’ ‘From the place you stand he could most likely seem so! ’ ‘He is wealthy? ’ ‘Unbelievably! ’ ‘Popular? ’ ‘Hardly!

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