Wednesday, the 6th of July, and time for Shelf Control once again! Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. To participate, all you do is pick a book from your TBR pile, and write a post about it–what its about, why you want to read it, when you got it, and such. If you participate, don’t forget to link back to Lisa’s page, and do also leave your links in the comments below as I’d love to check out your picks as well!
Today my pick is a book of historical fiction, and part 2 of a trilogy, the Patan trilogy. The book is The Lord and Master of Gujarat by K. M. Munshi, first published in Gujarati in 1917, and in this translated edition by Rita and Abhijit Kothari, in 2018. K. M. Munshi was a writer, lawyer, freedom fighter and politician, and my first acquaintance with him was actually in one of his other avatars, that of a member of India’s Constituent Assembly, and whose views in the Assembly Debates I often read when at university. It was only later when I came across one of his books by chance, that I discovered that he was also a writer of fiction. That book, Prithvi Vallabh, was a historical romance which really stood out to me because despite being written back in 1921, it didn’t features the typical teen lovers (though there was one set of those too); the main characters were in their 40s and the heroine, Mrinalvati had ‘greying hair’ and not only that, she was the de facto ruler of her kingdom, wielding all the power. These characters were really complex and powerful and I enjoyed reading the book very much.
Looking into more of his books, I then found this trilogy, set in 11th-12th century Gujarat in the rule of Siddhraj Jayasinh of the Chalukya or Solanki dynasty. The first book, The Glory of Patan takes us to the kingdom at a time when the king has died and the heir is just a young boy which means the Queen Minaldevi and minister Munjal Mehta must hold things together amid conspiracies and bids for power. This was a story of politics and power games, as is today’s pick The Lord and Master of Gujarat (much more solid than book 1 at 489 pages) that traces Jayasinh’s rise to power, picking up four years after the events of the previous book. A story of intrigues and conspiracies, romance and heroism weaving together state battles and politics with personal trials and tribulations.
Having enjoyed The Glory of Patan, even though not as much as Prithvi Vallabh, I am keen to read on and see the course the story takes, and also if we get to know some of the characters (especially Munjal Mehta) better than I felt I got to know them in book 1. The main reason I’ve been putting this off, is that I still haven’t acquired a copy of book 3, and probably as soon as I do, I’ll try and read them both.
Have you come across this series before? Which are some of your favourite historical fiction reads or series? Looking forward to your recommendations!
Book description from the blurb on my copy; cover image from Goodreads
Lisa’s pick this week is Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory: Stories by Raphael Bob-Waksburg, a short story collection with ‘scathing dark humor’ that promises to make the reader ‘laugh, weep and shiver’!