Empire of the Moghul # 4 .. The Tainted Throne .. By Alex Rutherford
Here comes the review of the fourth book of the Empire of the Moghul chain. I am not going to lie to you guys, I am absolutely loving the series! This is already in my favorites collection and I think I am already living in that era these days. It's kind of hard for me to come back to the reality that seems boring after deep diving into this magnificent period.
This book continues with the story of Jahangir, who after Akbar’s death is proclaimed his successor and is immediately faced with a rebellion from his eldest son Khusron. Although he captures and imprisons his son, he is on a constant lookout for trouble from his other son, Khurram (Later known as Shah Jahan). However, Khurram turns out to be a docile son, ready to accept any responsibility given to him and proves an effective commander during campaigns.
While living and enjoying his life in this new found glory, Jahangir also pursues his love interest from Kabul, the exquisite and brave girl, Mehrunissa, wife of Sher Afgan, a Moghul courtier of Jehangir from Bengal province. After getting her husband killed, he marries her and gives her the title of “Nur Jahan” (Light of the World).
Mehrunissa, however, turns out to be extremely cunning in dealing with stately affairs and always ensures she is benefitted in all the decisions taken by Jehangir. She supports the marriage between Khurram and Arjumand Banu (her niece; who was later known as Mumtaz Mahal) and then deceives both of them, when she feels insecure by the growing bond between father and son and fears that Jehangir might name Khurram his heir and in turn making Arjumand as the Empress, instead of her. So, she manipulates her husband to send Khurram away on an expedition to the south.
In Khurram’s absence, Mehrunnissa becomes an important member of Jahangir's court and wields considerable influence by gathering Jehangir’s favor over his own family. She continuously supplies him wine mixed with opium to befuddle his consciousness and take important court decisions herself on his behalf. Prince Khurram resents the influence Nur Jahan hold over his father and is angered at having to play second fiddle to her favorite Shahriyar, his half-brother, and her son-in-law. This fear brings Prince Khurram to rebel against his father with a few supporters of his own and only his wife and children for company and all this follows even more thrilling tale ahead.
I found the fourth book following Jahangir's ascend to the throne, the most interesting story of all, mostly because of Mehrunissa, who was like a soul-mate to Jehangir. And yet, she harbored many ambitions within her and wanted more and more power and was ready to stop at nothing.
The book is well written and the narrative is fast paced and if you still have not started reading this awesome saga, the time is ripe now. Meanwhile, continuing the tradition, let me bring you the beautiful, yet tragic love story of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal and the history behind Taj Mahal, in the fifth book “The Serpent’s Tooth” very soon.