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review 2020-09-05 18:45
White Mughals by William Dalrymple
White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century India - William Dalrymple

I have a lot of admiration for this author’s Nine Lives, and The Anarchy is highly informative. But this book is supposedly a love story, which isn't actually all that well-documented and for which the author puts on heavily rose-tinted glasses to ignore the fact that the participants were aged 35 and 13 and that we know almost nothing about her life, thoughts, or feelings. In reality, the book is in part a biography of East India Company official James Achilles Kirkpatrick, and in part a very detailed and heavily footnoted account of the British presence in India from about 1798-1806.

So. Kirkpatrick was a Resident of the East India Company in Hyderabad, essentially an ambassador to the princely court there, a position from which he built himself a monumental residence and negotiated treaties that strengthened the British and weakened the Hyderabadis (at times he felt bad about this but not bad enough to resign). He wrote a bunch of letters which from a modern point-of-view look awfully patronizing (referring to the Nizam, or local ruler, as “old Nizzy,” or giving himself credit for “convincing” the Indian authorities to do any useful thing they did); it’s hard to parse this stuff because the author never addresses it.

Kirkpatrick also, at the age of 35, slept with a 13-year-old girl from an aristocratic Muslim family, whom he got pregnant and then married. Now, I know that conventions about age and sex were different in many historical time periods, but rather than talking about that at all, Dalrymple seems to hope readers won't notice. In fact his description of the early years of this “romance” entirely obscures the age issue by stating vaguely that Khair un-Nissa was “probably in her early teens” and then quickly moving on. That uncertainty was apparently cleared up in Dalrymple’s own mind by the later chapters, at which point he states without ambiguity that she was 19 when their oldest child was 5. Dalrymple further tries to paper over the consent issue by emphasizing the fact that Khair un-Nissa’s male relatives, and Kirkpatrick himself—when accused of rape by a third party for what Dalrymple insists were purely specious and political reasons, to drive a wedge between her male relatives and the British—portrayed her as the initiator. Which in my mind just makes it worse (most of us would be pretty disgusted by a 35-year-old man excusing himself with “but the 13-year-old totally initiated!” regardless of whether it was true, in part because this is such a common line in the sex offender playbook), especially since Khair un-Nissa’s own voice is entirely absent from the book. None of her letters survived, and she’s viewed almost entirely through male eyes.

The couple go on to get married and have a couple of kids whom he insists on shipping off to his relatives in England at the tender ages of 5 and 3, at which point they’re forbidden from corresponding with their mother or her relatives. We don’t actually know much about their marriage because Kirkpatrick didn’t write much about it, but the author infers a lot. Both parties then die young. Dalrymple insists on viewing Khair un-Nissa as a tragic heroine throughout, based on what seems to be pretty scanty evidence. In a place and time when medical knowledge was still quite basic and a doctor even feeling a woman’s pulse was reserved for serious circumstances, I wouldn’t infer that she died of a broken heart from the simple fact that the doctor couldn’t pinpoint the cause.

At any rate, Dalrymple never reckons with the fact that his supposedly beautiful true love story involves a middle-aged man and an adolescent girl, and has little to say about the fact that we don’t hear her voice at all. But then, the relationship is only a focal point of a book that is largely comprised of the author squeezing in whatever bits of history seem to have caught his fancy. Someone goes to a festival, and we get a 6-page history of the festival and description of relevant buildings. Someone visits Calcutta, and we get 6 pages describing its society. Someone remodels a building and we get endless discussion of architecture and the hiring of workmen. It can be pretty interesting, but it also makes the book quite dense, especially with all the tiny footnotes, which I think are overkill for a non-academic work. The publishers could have made the book much more readable by actually naming the chapters and sections (and making sure to space out section breaks more evenly) to make it easier for readers to find what interests them. Instead it’s a wall of text full of tangents and extraneous details; no wonder many readers were frustrated. I nearly gave up on it myself.

Despite all its flaws, though, I did find the book interesting, and in the end did read it all. I do appreciate details and specifics and this book has them in abundance. It seems well-researched and the author’s basic thesis, that in the 18th century the British in India did far more to assimilate than their hoity-toity 19th century successors, is also quite interesting. Those looking for a detailed picture of an era would be well-advised to pick this up, though those expecting a love story might do better to avoid it.

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review 2020-05-16 19:17
The Lane Betrayal (Time Box #1)
The Lane Betrayal - John A. Heldt

Mark Lane is about to put in place a decision that will change the life of his family, a corporation and possibly history.  Mark has invented the Time Box in conjunction with the Janus corporation headed up by billionaire Robert Devereaux.   When Mark learns that Robert will only use the Time Box for evil, he makes a difficult decision to sabotage the company, steal the working Time Boxes and disappear into the past with his family. Mark, his wife Mary and children Jordan, Laura, Jeremy and Ashley travel in haste to 1865 Virginia.  The family tries to fit in and rebuild a life as best they can.  However, Robert Devereaux will not let Lane's betrayal slide.  Devereaux's team rebuilds a Time box and sends a hit man into the past  to enact revenge.

The Lane Betrayal is a high-stakes, action packed time travel adventure.  From the very first page the suspense is heightened as Mark destroys his friend's company and is chased into the past.  There are a lot of characters in this book, but they are all very well developed and distinctive.  The Lane's are very family oriented and serve one another well. None of the family members are perfect, but they are all trying their best to do what is right during a very weird situation.   The assassin added another layer of danger with a cold-hearted and focused attitude.  The setting of the tail end of the Civil War was an interested choice.  There is a lot of danger in the time period, especially for the men, but it was a time that they knew about well.  I enjoyed reading about Laura's time as a nurse in the field hospital.  Though her time there was difficult, it was authentic and realistic to the time period.  It was also interesting to read about the family's interactions with Lincoln himself and his advisors.  I was intrigued at the family's outlook at potentially changing history and the influence that their presence has had.  With a cliffhanger ending, I can't wait to jump into the next book and next time period with the Lane family.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
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text 2020-02-27 19:54
TOUR, EXCERPT & #GIVEAWAY - Death and Betrayal (Sabel Security #8) by Seeley James
Death and Betrayal (Sabel Security #8) - Seeley James

@partnersincr1me‚Äč, @SeeleyJamesAuth, #Thriller


Jacob Stearne, ex Army Ranger and current Sabel Security operative, is about to propose to his girl when he discovers that "next generation" weapons are being shipped to our enemies. Some factions in the US government ask him to find the perpetrators while others work to make sure he fails. His intended fiancé does not understand his disappearance and he can’t give an explanation. When Jacob sets out to expose the billionaire intending to auction off national secrets, he is fired, expelled, and hunted by the government that once awarded him medals. If he ever wants to return to his homeland, he must insert himself into the dangerous world of technology smugglers. It’s a place where only the aggressive and ruthless survive. In the cutthroat world of modern-day pirates, every breath he takes may be his last. He must ask himself, can he outsmart the most corrupt billionaires in history before democracy is destroyed? Can he lose the woman he loves to save the nation?

Source: archaeolibrarian.wixsite.com/website/post/tour-excerpt-giveaway-death-and-betrayal-sabel-security-8-by-seeley-james
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review 2020-01-14 13:45
Explores the broader storytelling possibilities in Lucas's universe
Betrayal - Scott Allie,Ryan Benjamin,Curtis Arnold

George Lucas's Star Wars movies are grounded in a binary struggle between good and evil. On the one side you have the Jedi, the Republic and the Rebellion, and on the other the Sith, Palpatine and the Empire he builds. Both are largely monolithic, with people (most famously Anakin Skywalker) occasionally switching sides but largely respecting the order to which they've aligned. It's straightforward in a way that makes for nice moral contrasts, yet it loses much of the sophistication that can make for great storytelling.


This is why I enjoyed Scott Aille's Betrayal as much as I did. Set in the weeks before the events of the original Star Wars movie, it's centered around a group of top Imperial officials who decide that the Empire would be better served if it was led by them rather than a Sith lord and his apprentice. Well aware of Palpatine's and Vader's powers, the cabal concocts an elaborate plot involving brainwashed stormtroopers, mercenaries, and staged assassination attempts designed to remove them both. It's a great premise, and one that is a natural fit for the Star Wars universe: an Empire run by talented and ambitious military officers is bound to produce a few who are tired of living under the threat of being Force-choked to death for unavoidable reversals and who think they could do a better job were they in charge. Though the outcome is never in doubt, seeing how it plays out makes for entertaining reading, and serves as a great example of the larger narrative possibilities in Lucas's long-ago world.

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review 2019-12-20 16:25
The Advocate's Betrayal by Teresa Burrell
The Advocate's Betrayal - Teresa Burrell

I received a complimentary Kindle copy of The Advocate's Betrayal by Teresa Burrell published by Silent Thunder Publishing in an Amazon promotion in exchange for a fair review.


I gave this book four stars.


Sabre is an attorney who is helping her friend, when Betty is accused of murdering her husband John.


In one of her other cases she had an advantage. "Fortunately for Sabre, she didn’t have an active role in her afternoon trial. Her client lived out of state, he supported the recommendations of the Department of Social Services, and he had little interest in the outcome of the case other than the negative effect it would have on his ex-spouse, for which he seemed to be gleaning a perverse kind of pleasure."

Link to purchase: http://www.amazon.com/Advocates-Betrayal-Advocate-Book-ebook/dp/B00876HPZ2

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