Author: Frank Rogers
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0143028804
A tale of love, loyalty and a hero who doubts his ability to be a hero.
September 1817, Lakshmi, a Bhonsle princess and bride of the Maharaja of Satara, travels to Satara for the pathavani or consummation ceremony, but at the crossing of the Dudna, an attack by the dreaded Pindaris threatens to overwhelm her escort. Approaching the same crossing with his Rajput cavalry, Captain Robert (Robbie) MacKenzie of the Poona Subsidiary Force comes upon the action and observes Lakshmi, lance in hand, fighting to defend her caravan.
He admires and envies her, for he sees in her easy courage what he has come to India to find within himself. He offers his cavalry to replace the Maratha cavalry lost in the attack, and the caravan continues on its journey. As circumstances increasingly throw them together, Robbie finds himself at once unsettled and entranced by Lakshmi’s spirit. Thus blossoms an unusual relationship between the Maratha queen and her British escort-unusual because Robbie has demons to fight. He is beset by doubts about his courage and is tortured by what he believes is Lakshmi’s misplaced regard for his bravery. Can love for a heroic queen finally inspire him to an equal heroism?
About them swirl and eddy the conflicting currents of clashing empires. Lakshmi’s is a marriage promoted by Peshwa Baji Rao II, who hopes by doing so to shore up his crumbling empire. Mountstuart Elphinstone, the East India Company Resident at Poona, is at pains to promote the Company’s effort to extend its dominion over the Marathas. Ensnared in this struggle for empire, Robbie and Lakshmi act out their poignant and bittersweet love story.