Review of The last queen of Kashmir by Rakesh.K.Kaul

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Name         – The Last Queen of Kashmir

Author                  – Rakesh.K.Kaul
Publisher              – Harper Collins
Number of Pages -442
Publishing Year   -2016
Edition                  -Paperback
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Rating : 4.0


A historical
saga of treachery, betrayal and the quest for land and religious supremacy in
Kashmir in 1330 AD, The Last Queen of Kashmir is the story of the beautiful
Kota and how she is, unknowingly, swept into the intrigues of the court of
Kashmir. The book is as much a description of what Kashmir was like in the
fourteenth century as the story of a strong woman leader, a kingdom and a
civilization in turmoil.

My Review

Stories with a woman protagonist gives the writer boundless chances of experimentation. Bringing forth variations in the character build up is risk accompanied with the challenge. The last queen of Kashmir is one such book which showed the tempestuous  variations of the female protagonist – Kota.  The characterisation of Kota is splendidly done. History and fiction are seamlessly interwoven that it is difficult at times to distinguish between both. Narration is a mix of vogue and yesteryear literature.The male counterparts in the story are complimenting. Vast research in terms of culture, religion, and strategy of the period of the story is evident throughout the book. 

Author’s account of battle is an exotic mix of history and fiction. At several points the perseverance and ingenuity of Kota reminded me of Scarlett o Hara in Gone with the wind. 
There is a huge difference in telling and showing. The major drawback in the narration lies in the inability of permeating the feelings of the characters implicitly. Author failed in communicating with the readers as to how Kota became the face of Kashmir in an era when telecommunication facilities were  meagre, especially in a country which was dwindled into ashes. 

Keeping this aside, the book is a treat for the historical fiction lovers.

Reviewed for the publisher
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book as a
complimentary copy in exchange for a honest review. I was not required to write
a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

About the author

Rakesh K. Kaul,
whose family hails from Kashmir, migrated to the US in 1972. Rakesh was a
founding contributor to the first Chair of India Studies at University of
California, Berkeley, to the Center for the Advanced Study of India at
University of Pennsylvania and the Mattoo Center for India studies at State
University of New York.
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