Genre: Historical Fiction
Why Aren’t History Books In School Written Like This
Before I begin praising this book, I have to admit, I just love historical fiction so I might be a bit biased in my review, but only ever so slightly.
This book is so well written, it only takes a couple of pages to get you hooked. It is based on historical facts but written as a brilliant, ever-engaging and racy story. It is about Babur, a descendent of Timur and Genghis Khan, his long and painful journey from a 12 year old king to the founder of the Indian Moghul empire.
The details are amazing, they compel you to imagine everything as it happens. Not just incidents but descriptions as well. You end up visualising the mountains, the clothes, the wars and even the food. There might be a few distortions here and there as far as authenticity is concerned but from what I’ve heard, there are very few of those. I am not a historian but I like to check on facts when I’m reading books based on ‘supposedly’ actual happenings in history and I’m pretty much satisfied with this one. I don’t even mind minimal liberties taken in the name of creativity. A lot of historical writings can be open to subjective interpretations and anyway, there’s no one from Babur’s time to corroborate anything.
A lot of things about the story were as expected, the wars, the king’s lifestyle and so on but what was surprising were the hardships that Babur had to face before he took the decision to cross over to India. He didn’t exactly lead a ‘king’s life’ before he reached the golden land. Life wasn’t easy in those days, even for a king. It is interesting to see how he grows from an insecure child king to a mature and confident leader who has been through a lot in life. Maybe he was not a typical hero as you would have in novels but he surely comes across as an admirable fighter and winner; a real person not just a historical figure.
I always liked history as a subject in school but never scored much. Maybe things would have been different if we had books like these in our curriculum.
All in all, absolutely great, can’t wait to finish all five (the Moghul Quintet)! I would love to see this series turned into a movie, would be a certain super hit.
The funny thing is, it’s a book based on history and real people written by someone (!) called Alex Rutherford…who, well sort of, doesn’t even exist. Go figure that out!