New Novel Provides Historical and Cultural Insight into 16th Century India – ‘Himalayan Passage’

January 26, 2009

TAOS, N.M., Jan. 26 /PRNewswire/ — Tara is a young woman of considerable passion, fire and beauty. As an unmarried woman in the Himalayan mountains between India and the Tibetan plateau, her prospects seemed fairly certain. Her future, just as the future of all the women of her village, would consist of an arranged marriage, children and a household to run. Tara’s life is irrevocably changed the day the emissaries of the Sultan Ibrahim ride into her small mountain village. “Himalayan Passage” (published by iUniverse), by Jean Smith, spins a captivating web of history, courtly politics and political intrigue that combine into an expertly crafted work of historical fiction.

“Himalayan Passage” is a richly descriptive, intricate novel that details many cultural aspects, both good and bad, of the ancient region that is now India. Smith draws heavily from firsthand knowledge to create an accurate depiction of courtly life through the eyes of a woman. “Himalayan Passage” follows the story of Tara, the youngest wife of the Sultan Ibrahim, ruler of the 16th Century Empire that would become India and some of its surrounding regions. Tara becomes a sultana when the servants of Ibrahim come to her village looking for a young mountain girl prophesied to be his next wife. Once the men ascertain that Tara is the girl they seek, she is taken to the Sultan’s seat of power, the Amber Fort.

Tara’s uncommonly fierce self-reliance is first exhibited to readers of “Himalayan Passage” while on the journey to her new home. In an act of defiance, she refuses to be carried to the mountain plateau where the Amber Fort sits. Instead, she insists on walking, far ahead of the soldiers escorting her. This self-determination at once captivates the heart and mind of Ibrahim, who immediately falls in love with her. Tara’s fire and self-determination endear her to her new husband as well as his eldest wife, Kiren. However, the Sultan’s fascination with his youngest wife alienates his other wives, including Sita, the Hindu niece of Bhaji, who governs the southern region of the Sultan’s Empire.

As “Himalayan Passage” follows the nuances of courtly life, Sita begins sowing dissent among the court of Ibrahim. Unknown to Tara, Ibrahim and Kiren, this dissent is a prelude to a long-planned rebellion by Bhaji. As a result of Bhaji’s treachery, Tara and Kiren are forced to flee the Empire in a series of harrowing escapes while Ibrahim stands to face an uncertain fate:

“Do you think you can hold Khadke?” asked Kiren.

“I will try. But if Bhaji has built up great enough strength to attack us from two directions then besiege the Black Fortress, it eventually will fall.”

Akkan spoke, “Your Highness, should we all go directly to Jodhpur from here? You should be out of danger too.”

“No. Not until we know how strong Bhaji’s forces are. We can fall back from Khadke if we have to, then mass the legions we need to move south again. The line we defend may be drawn from east to west at Khadke or Delhi or even at the beginning of the desert south of Jodhpur. In any case, we must hold Bom Bahai so that we have a port to the sea.”

Jean Smith is retired from a career in the publishing industry. She moved from New York to Taos, N.M. and began to write full-time. After many trips to the Himalayas, she has become an author and scholar of Buddhism. You can see her other works regarding Buddhism at www.BuddhaBookSmith.com

iUniverse is the premier book publisher for emerging, self-published authors. For more information, please visit www.iuniverse.com.

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SOURCE iUniverse

Source: newswire

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