Queen of Glory
Nicole, in this sequel to Manu, continues the fascinating travelogue of Emma, a young and attractive English governess. She’s still in the employ of the Rani of Jhansi, although she has separated from her husband, an Indian officer, and is engaged to a British major who is serving elsewhere. Coincidentally, Jhansi is under the Governor General’s annexation orders that are being appealed by the Rani.
This continuance covers the events immediately prior to and during the Indian Mutiny/Rebellion of 1857. While Emma is there to tutor the Rani’s adopted son, she does much more, advising and assisting the rani in her cause. After the rejection of the appeal, the affairs at Jhansi take a turn for the worse. By 1857 the Rani is struggling to survive on a small pension. To make matters worse, the East India Company army’s Hindu/Muslim sepoys mutiny over the religious issue of needing to chew off the pig- and cow-fat- greased new cartridges required to load the superior Enfield Rifles. They persuade the Rani to join the rebellion, which she is reluctant to do initially. Ultimately, she has to take up arms since she’s implicated in the atrocities committed by the Jhansi rebels.
The love story thread is kept alive by Emma’s pining for her betrothed. In her discussions with both the Indian and British leaders, we hear both sides of the arguments about the treachery and carnage during the insurgence. Nicole lets the readers come to their own conclusions. He uses the tools of a historical novelist to good effect. The historical facts are only slightly adjusted without losing the overall picture, and he brings the events of the 1857 uprising to life in a treatment most readers will enjoy. Considering the severe impediments the Rani faced, the book’s title “Queen of Glory” (another name for the Virgin Mary) seems appropriate.