By Alex Rutherford
Thomas Dunne Books, $25.99, 436 pages
A Kingdom Divided, the second book in Alex Rutherford’s series on the Moghul Empire, recounts the life of Humanyan, the second Moghul Emperor. From his ascendance to the throne as a young man, it tells the story of his struggle with opium addiction. It also tells the story of the near-loss and eventual regaining of the empire. The crux of this story is not the building of an empire, but the private, inner struggles of Humanayan the man. He becomes Emperor through the will of his father, but not through any specific talent, and he struggles with doubt and a lack of self-confidence. Readers looking for fabulous descriptions of the magnificence of the courts of Agra will be disappointed. Even the battle scenes are more about the inner thoughts and feelings of the characters than any kind of military description. Those looking for a deep and touching love story or a story of one human being overcoming his doubts and weaknesses to triumph without cruelty will be enthralled.
Reviewed by Katie Richards