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The Maharajah's Box by Christy Campbell

The Maharajah's Box

by Christy Campbell

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This book is the sort of book that makes me glad I'm a reader. Campbell takes you into a fascinating period of British history, the time of the Raj, when Queen Victoria was the Empress of India. Britain doesn't come out looking to good in this account, which is appropriate. Taking advantage of political upheaval in the Punjab, the queen's government manipulates the kingdom away from its eleven-year-old king, Maharajah Duleep Singh, including the Koh-i-noor diamond. But that's okay because the young king grows up to become a real thorn in Britain's flesh. As an adult, he is a sad figure, trying to get a public hearing on the wrong's done him as a child-king and allowing himself to become a pawn in the complex play for power that was Europe in the late 19th century. Who knew? I certainly didn't! In history, compelling stories abound, and this is one of them. ( )
  scenik1 | Sep 21, 2011 |
This is a fun book. It doesn't really address anything important, but it's an examination of one of the odd sidelights of history.

To begin with, the Maharajah of the title is Duleep Singh. I first met him as the young ruler of the Punjab in George Macdonald Frasier's book, "Flashman and the Mountain of Light." (Incidentally, Frasier's books are proof that truth is always stranger than fiction. Every time I have gone digging into the background for his novels, I have found that the really amazing, unbelievable stuff was true, and that sometimes, in fact, he made it less bizarre than it was, just for narrative versimilitude.) So, anyway, Duleep Singh.

This book basically looks at what happened to him after the British invaded his country and took him and the Koh i Noor to England. He was fine, if a bit wild, until middle age, when in a mid-life crisis to serve as a model to others, he ran off to Russia disguised as an Irish terrorist (a man who used the then-new invention of dynamite to blow up English targets) and tried to re-establish his old kingdom, accompanied by a pair of Spaniels and a Cockney dancing girl. Really. ( )
  teckelvik | Jun 22, 2010 |
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Documents a forensic historical investigator's search surrounding the dormant Swiss bank account of the princess daughter of Maharaja Duleep Singh, the last Emperor of the Sikhs, chronicling Singh's midlife attempt to reclaim his throne.

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