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Publisher's Summary

An enchanting historical epic of grand passion and adventure, this debut novel tells the captivating story of one of India's most controversial empresses, a woman whose brilliance and determination trumped myriad obstacles and whose love shaped the course of the Mughal Empire. Skillfully blending the textures of historical reality with the rich and sensual imaginings of a timeless fairy tale, The Twentieth Wife sweeps listeners up in Mehrunnisa's embattled love with Prince Salim - and in the bedazzling destiny of a woman, a legend in her own time, who was all but lost to history until now.
©2002 Indu Sundaresan (P)2006 Blackstone Audio Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Sundaresan writes in the great tradition of the Indian epic, an art she carries forward with grace and brilliance....This is a remarkably readable book despite the historical basis, with which many readers will not be familiar." (Library Journal) "Sundaresan's debut is a sweeping, carefully researched tale of desire, sexual mores, and political treachery set against the backdrop of 16th- and 17th-century India....[She] charts the chronology of the Mughal Empire, describing life in the royal court in convincing detail and employing authentic period terms throughout." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Eric on 03-01-12

Fiction that brings history to life

First, this is a five star narration. Sneha Mathan was truly brilliant in giving voice to the characters. What a lyrical, rich, thoughtful and seasoned voice.

I felt the story was stronger in the second half than the first. Because the story adhered so closely to actual events and personages, I felt I was learning history while listening to Sundaresan's characters were embodied in Mathan's voice. This was historical fiction at its richest, I think, where the author fills in motives, feelings, dialog and thoughts about real events and people. The preface to each chapter is an excerpt from a historical piece and is a nice touch. You might find yourself, like me, looking up different references.

I agree with another reviewer that the concept of romantic love in the story probably was more prominent in the novel than in actual history. On the other hand, to avoid giving away a spoiler, I will say that there is plenty of evidence and reason to believe that the marriage alluded to in the title was different than those that usually took place. Story was really good, narration was even better.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful


By Mary on 10-31-09

A good historical novel

I really knew very little about the Emperors in India in the 16th and 17th century and therefore I really enjoyed this fictionalized novel of real events. It was very interesting to read of the court life and the hardships faced by those around the court, as well as the historical figures.

This is one of those books that is better listened to than read, because the reader's accent gives a charming dimension to the story.

There is a sequel to this book and another by the same author and I plan to listen to both of them.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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