Empire of the Moghul: Brothers at War

Written by Alex Rutherford
Review by Mike Ashworth

The novel opens three months after the death of the first Moghul Emperor, and the coronation of his son, Humayan. Right from the start Humayan finds that his brothers are plotting against him, each wanting their own share of the Empire; instead of executing them he grants them governorship over various regions. However, having secured his throne against the immediate threat, Humayan finds that threats to his reign can be more subtle than and just as effective as assassination. He becomes addicted to opium as supplied by the mother of one of his half brothers and his empire collapses as his enemies, including his brothers, take advantage of his addled state. The latter half of the book is taken up with Humayan striving to restore his empire.

This is the second in the series and carries on naturally from the first. The whole life and times of the Mughal dynasty are brought to life in vivid imagery. The battle scenes are effectively written; while the characters are colourful and believable. Alex Rutherford is a pseudonym for two writers, but the writing is seamless, and reflects a deep knowledge of the period without being overpowering. I was really drawn into the book. This is compelling reading and is a worthy successor to Raiders from the North. It can be read without reference to its predecessor, but readers will gain more by reading Raiders first. More please! Recommended.