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The Mountain of Light

by

The Mountain of Light Cover

ISBN13: 9781451643510
ISBN10: 1451643519
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A globe-spanning, epic novel about the diamond worshippers who, over the centuries, risked their lives and kingdoms to possess the world's most awe-inspiring gem.

By the time Queen Victoria slipped the Mountain of Light diamond on her wrist, claiming it for England, the gem had traveled around the world, changing hands over the centuries from one ruler to another in Persia, Afghanistan, and India.

The fascinating story of this 105-carat diamond opens in 1830, when the Indian Maharaja and founder of the Sikh empire Ranjit Singh takes possession of the massive jewel that has been passed from man to man, king to king, and emperor to emperor, through bloodshed and destruction, since the 1200s. But India in the nineteenth century is a very different place. Now the British Empire has claimed territories all across the country and the colonization of India takes root. When Ranjit Singh dies, four of his sons are slaughtered in wars with the British, and the diamond is left to Prince Dalip Singh, a six-year-old child. The British governor-general orders that the Mountain of Light be secreted out of India in 1850, and the teenage-king Dalip Singh follows the diamond to London to officially present it to the queen as a spoil of the Sikh War. He is feted and petted by the British monarchy for a long while — until he realizes that all that Britain gives him cannot make up for the loss of his country and its celebrated diamond.

In her inimitable trademark style, Indu Sundaresan's The Mountain of Light is a wondrous and historically rich tale, as clear and as dazzling as a diamond itself.

Review:

"Once again Indu Sundaresan has brought history to life in this well-researched novel tracing the story of the 186-carat Kohinoor diamond, through years of war and royal intrigue in the Punjab, to the time of English rule when the priceless gem is secreted overseas to Queen Victoria in England. Above all, it's her characters that stand out. From rich maharajahs to poor old women who sell chai to the soldiers, each person comes alive on the page. Whether you read The Mountain of Light for its dramatic story, its lush setting, or its vivid characters, this novel will give you insights into history that will change you." Janet Lee Carey, Award-winning author of medieval fantasy

Review:

“On one level, Indu Sundaresan's novel Mountain of Light is a fascinating tale about a mythical jewel, filled with adventure and romance, that draws the reader in. But on a deeper level, it is a keen and heart-rending examination of the costs of colonialism.” Chitra Divakaruni

Synopsis:

From the internationally bestselling author of The Twentieth Wife, a novel based on the tumultuous history of a legendary 186-carat diamond and the men and women who possessed it

As empires rose and fell and mighty kings jostled for power, its glittering radiance never dimmed. It is the "Mountain of Light" — the Kohinoor diamond — and its facets reflect a sweeping story of love, adventure, conquest and betrayal. Its origins are the stuff of myth, but for centuries this spectacular gem changes hands from one ruler to another in India, Persia, and Afghanistan. In 1850, the ancient stone is sent halfway around the world where it will play a pivotal role in the intertwined destinies of a boy-king of India and a young queen of England — a queen who claims the Mountain of Light and India itself for her own burgeoning empire, the most brilliant jewels in her imperial crown.

The Mountain of Light is a magnificent story of loss and recovery, sweeping change and enduring truth, wrapped around the glowing heart of one of the world's most famous diamonds.

About the Author

Indu Sundaresan was born in India and came to the US for graduate school at the University of Delaware. She is the author of two acclaimed novels, The Twentieth Wife and The Feast of Roses.

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The Lost Entwife, November 10, 2013 (view all comments by The Lost Entwife)
I picked up The Mountain of Light by Indu Sundaresan because it boasted of a story of a large diamond: the Kohinoor. When I read the summary I was intrigued. I have not read a story centering around a gem in quite a long time and I kept thinking back to one of my favorite childhood movies, Romancing the Stone. I was positive that not only would I get a taste of adventure while reading The Mountain of Light, but I'd also get to learn a bit more history about India and examine more closely the relationship between India and England during a pivotal point in both countries' history.

What I ended up getting was something a bit different, however. Let me take this morning to warn you, innocent reader who may be picking up this book next, that it is very, very important that you study the names at the beginning of the book and who they are connected to. Especially if you pick this book up in an electronic format and, like me, really hate flipping back to constantly try to put two and two together. I wish I had a physical copy of the book because I think my enjoyment would not have suffered as much. But, I didn't, and so I had to make do with what I had.
So that was me, reading through this story centering on a diamond, anxiously trying to figure out who was who and connected to whom. The first 50-75 pages were spent with me flipping back through the electronic pages and then trying to find my bookmark (and I'll be honest, I'm a horrible e-book bookmarker, so sometimes I'd actually forget to mark the spot when I put the book down and then I'd pick it up and have to go check again because, you know, time had passed). I'm beginning to feel like this review is actually a review of me as a reader, but really - I read a lot and there were a lot of names thrown at you in The Mountain of Light and you really do need those pages of names.

Once I got a good handle on what was going on, it seemed like the story shifted and a new set of characters was introduced. After about 75 pages in I started to give up on keeping track of who was who and decided that I would follow the story instead. What I ended up with was a bit of a disappointment. The story of the diamond itself was a weak thread and Sundaresan might have done better by focusing more on the relationship between the countries and a closer look at the dynamics between individuals (and there were a few that I still don't know why they were present in the story, so those individuals could have been thinned out a bit more too). Instead, I felt a bit anxious as I kept waiting for the story to wind back around to the diamond and give me what the summary had promised me: a story of love, adventure, conquest and betrayal. Now, don't get me wrong, some of those elements were there, but they were so hidden behind names and facts they were difficult to mine out.

I think Sundaresan should be admired for attempting to conquer this story in a way that attempted to make sense. I do think that she is a masterful writer, but The Mountain of Light is such a large story and the history so rich that it was overwhelming for me, someone who is not really familiar with this time period and the history of India, to pick up on. I was hoping I would walk away knowing more, but instead I came away feeling overwhelmed with so much history - I was exhausted. So my recommendation is to prepare better than I did. Expect beautiful writing; expect an author who knows her stuff; but also know that you will be expected to (if you don't have a firm grasp on the history of India) pick up facts and names quickly in order to enjoy the story.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781451643510
Author:
Sundaresan, Indu
Publisher:
Washington Square Press
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
General Fiction
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20131008
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.31 in

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The Mountain of Light Used Trade Paper
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Product details 352 pages Washington Square Press - English 9781451643510 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Once again Indu Sundaresan has brought history to life in this well-researched novel tracing the story of the 186-carat Kohinoor diamond, through years of war and royal intrigue in the Punjab, to the time of English rule when the priceless gem is secreted overseas to Queen Victoria in England. Above all, it's her characters that stand out. From rich maharajahs to poor old women who sell chai to the soldiers, each person comes alive on the page. Whether you read The Mountain of Light for its dramatic story, its lush setting, or its vivid characters, this novel will give you insights into history that will change you."
"Review" by , “On one level, Indu Sundaresan's novel Mountain of Light is a fascinating tale about a mythical jewel, filled with adventure and romance, that draws the reader in. But on a deeper level, it is a keen and heart-rending examination of the costs of colonialism.”
"Synopsis" by , From the internationally bestselling author of The Twentieth Wife, a novel based on the tumultuous history of a legendary 186-carat diamond and the men and women who possessed it

As empires rose and fell and mighty kings jostled for power, its glittering radiance never dimmed. It is the "Mountain of Light" — the Kohinoor diamond — and its facets reflect a sweeping story of love, adventure, conquest and betrayal. Its origins are the stuff of myth, but for centuries this spectacular gem changes hands from one ruler to another in India, Persia, and Afghanistan. In 1850, the ancient stone is sent halfway around the world where it will play a pivotal role in the intertwined destinies of a boy-king of India and a young queen of England — a queen who claims the Mountain of Light and India itself for her own burgeoning empire, the most brilliant jewels in her imperial crown.

The Mountain of Light is a magnificent story of loss and recovery, sweeping change and enduring truth, wrapped around the glowing heart of one of the world's most famous diamonds.

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