Farzana : The Woman Who Saved an Empire

4.12 (16 ratings by Goodreads)
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Amongst the riches of nineteenth century India, as the British fought their way across Mughal territory, an orphaned streetgirl ends up at court with the ear of the Emperor. That girl was Farzana, and she would become a courtesan, a leader of armies, a treasured defender of the last Mughal emperor and the head of one of the most legendary courts in history. In this beautifully written book, the author's last, Julia Keay weaves a story which spans the Indian continent and the end of a golden era in Indian history, the story of a nobody who became a teenage seductress and died one of the richest and most prominent women of her age. Farzana rode into battle atop a stallion, though only 4 1/2 feet tall, and led an army which defended a sickly Mughal Empire. She dabbled in witchcraft while gaining favour with the Pope, and died a favourite of the British Raj. Farzana is an evocative and moving depiction of one of the most remarkable, and least-known, historical lives of the nineteenth century.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 144 x 220 x 34mm | 499.99g
  • I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.
  • I.B.Tauris
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 8 colour in 8pp plates
  • 1784530557
  • 9781784530556
  • 1,070,718

About Julia Keay

JULIA KEAY was the author of several acclaimed biographies including The Spy Who Never Was, With Passport and Parasol and Alexander the Corrector. She also wrote numerous BBC radio documentaries, including two plays, and, with her husband John Keay, co-edited two editions of the Encyclopedia of Scotland and the third edition of the London Encyclopedia. The text of Farzana was completed just before her death in 2011.show more

Table of contents

Foreword vii Prologue 1 PART ONE: MARRIED TO THE REGIMENT 1750-1778 1 Where Passions Rage 13 2 In Between Empires 26 3 The Butcher of Patna 43 4 Enchanted by Her Heroism 62 5 A Home of Their Own 77 PART TWO: DAUGHTER OF THE EMPEROR 1778-1788 6 Steel Beneath the Muslin 95 7 Fit for Service 124 8 Fearless Foreigner 146 9 Violence, Rapine and Barbarity 166 10 Errors of Judgement 189 11 A Gathering Storm 214 12 A Salutory Experience 237 PART THREE: THE ONLY LADY AT THE TABLE 1788-1836 13 A Genius for Majesty 255 14 Best-laid Plans 269 Epilogue 291 Afterword 298 Notes 300 Select Bibliography 320 Index 327show more

Review quote

'This book, about an amazing woman, now stands as a fitting memorial to another. Julia will be greatly missed, and this book shows what an enjoyable writer we have lost.' WILLIAM DALRYMPLE 'A delight to read' Charles Allen, Literary Reviewshow more

Rating details

16 ratings
4.12 out of 5 stars
5 25% (4)
4 62% (10)
3 12% (2)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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