ImageTitle : Empire Of The Moghul – Raiders From The North

Author : Alex Rutherford

ISBN-10 : 0312573227

ISBN-13 : 978-0312573225

Paperback : 448 pages

The Plot :

This is the first book in the ‘Empire of the Moghul’ series by Alex Rutherford. The entire series has five books until now (2013) and deals with the Mughal Empire. The Mughals were one of the most opulent and powerful dynasties in the world and the central theme of the books revolve around the rise and fall of this dynasty,

‘Raiders from the North’ talks about the life of Babur, who is considered the first emperor of the Mughal dynasty. He is the descendent of Timur the Lame (Tamburlaine) and ruler of Ferghana in central Asia. From a very young age, when he inherited the throne, he had to fight to maintain his rule over his kingdom. The book starts in 1494 when at the age of 12, Babur inherits the throne, after the death of his father. He is determined to follow in the footsteps of his ancestors to make them the greatest dynasty that every ruled and be great like them.

The main characters of the book are his family and ministers including his mother Kutlugh Nigar, Grandmother Esan Dawlat, sister Khanzada and son Humayun, Shaibani Khan of the Uzbeks and Shah Ismail of Persia. Babur’s military commander Wazir Khan, adviser Baisanghar and friend Baburi are based on historical figures. With their help he is able to get hold of the throne and continue to rule after his father.

He is ambitious and has dreams to expand his kingdom to match that of his ancestors. As soon as he inherits the thrown he is subject to vicious plots and by some of his ministers and family to usurp the throne. Simultaneously the neighbouring king of the Uzbeks, Shaibani Khan and King of Persia, Shah Ismail plan to invade his kingdom. In order to be able to survive and rule his kingdom, Babur develops his cunning and military skills.

As a young king lacking skills to rule the empire he gets ousted from his own kingdom loosing Samarkhand that belonged to his ancestors and Ferghana where he ruled. He goes to Kabul where he starts to rule and slowly plans to regain his old territories along with new lands.  

Based on his autobiography, the ‘Baburnama’, this work of historic fiction makes for an amazing read. It gives you an insight into the mind of a Mughal emperor along with scenes of decadence and frivolity used to the emperor. It also takes you through the military stratagems and battles that helped establish the basis of the glorious Mughal dynasty. All in all, it is a great book which stays true to facts, takes you practically into those days as the story unfolds and leads you through Ferghana, onto Samarkand – then Kabul and finally Hindustan. I enjoyed the book thoroughly and highly recommend it. I can hardly wait to start the next in the series.


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