By Thalassa Ali

Set in nineteenth-century British India, Thalassa Ali’s miraculous debut, A Singular Hostage, brought us to Mariana Givens, the Englishwoman who risked every little thing to avoid wasting a tender Indian orphan from convinced demise. Now Ali returns to that unique country past the northwestern frontier, the place Mariana will come face-to-face with a distinct destiny.

Two years have handed due to the fact Mariana left the walled urban of Lahore. yet she’s not able to overlook its haunting odor of roses or her ill-fated marriage to a native-born husband that has scandalized Calcutta society and made her an outcast one of the English. Worse nonetheless, she bears the information that she's going to be compelled to renounce Saboor—the boy believed to be endowed with magical presents whose existence she risked her personal to save.

Now Mariana needs to revisit Lahore to come Saboor to his relatives and request a divorce from Hassan Ali Khan. yet how can she say goodbye to the enigmatic guy whose love defied cultures—or the kid she’s enjoyed as her personal? As political and civil strife threaten to erupt in violence, she seeks solutions in a global no Englishwoman has ever visible. And she’s pushed ever toward a mystery so strong that it'll switch her life—and the lives of these she loves—forever.

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But for all the Punjab's success, it had lost its powerful unifying leader. The legendary Maharajah Ranjit Singh, who had brought the Punjab under one rule and created a strong disciplined army, died in 1839, leaving the throne to his only legitimate son, the weak, half-witted Kharrak Singh. By July 1840, Kharrak Singh was out of power, imprisoned by his son, Prince Nau Nihal Singh. The atmosphere at the Lahore Citadel, the Maharajah's palace and fort, had turned poisonous as opposing factions struggled to gain control of the country.

Mariana waited, listening anxiously at the foot of the stairs. Worse than the punishing heat of Calcutta, its mosquitoes, its gossip, or even the squalor and starvation of many of the natives, were the illnesses whose sudden descent could wipe out entire families in a matter of hours. She did not think she could bear her life without Uncle Adrian, who now lay, ill with fever, in an upstairs room. Unlike most of the English, her uncle knew something of the Indian life she craved to understand. An avid student of military strategy since her childhood, she had always cared more for her uncle's stories than for her aunt's silks, laces, and gossip.

And free of Saboor. Mariana stared numbly at her uncle. BACK IN her room, she wiped her hands on her skirt and raked back her hair. She had more on her mind than her uncle's mortifying news and surprising plans, more than the tiny flame of hope her aunt had caused her to feel for her own future, for outside her window, beyond the shutters, past the champa tree with its yellow showers of bloom, past the compound wall, a man waited to see her: a courier who had come twelve hundred miles to deliver a letter into her hands.

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