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Mughal history has been the most happening one to pursue. Father executing son, son imprisoning father, siblings betraying each other. It is a quintessential lesson of how power and money could tarnish relations. Mughal history is one of the best management lessons for it has everything about politics in management.


Ruchira Gupta, with her fictional adaptation, brings the Mughal history quite interesting to read. It is an unputdownable account of the era of Aurengzeb, son of Shah Jahan, who imprisoned his father and executed his brother so that he could be the emperor. The story is about Zebunissa, the favorite daughter of Aurengzeb- How she admired and worshipped her father? How her loyalties changed later? How her poems were used to overthrow him?

Part fiction and part history, The Hidden One brings a tear to the eye while thrilling the heart as we witness 17th century India through the eyes of an unsuspected character – a Muslim princess.

The book is about the strength of a woman. The gaps in the historical backing of Zebunisa’s tale are covered seamlessly with the fictional adaptation. How the author connected the different characters with her imagination is exemplary. The characters Zebunisa, Rushanara, and Jani are connected in such a way that the readers would not be able to distinguish fiction and reality.

The interview posted at the end of the book explains how ineptly the author has developed the plot. The style of narration is stupendous. Being a historical fiction, the author has made sure to use the language that was supposedly used in that era, without losing the interest of the readers. The suspense as well as the twits have accentuated the acceptability of the book.

It narrates the powerful story of Zebunissa, and the Makhfi – the secret society that has been lost over time but deserves its rightful place in history for its role during one of India’s darkest eras.

However, the development of the connection between Zebunisa and Akbar could have been avoided. To avoid a spoiler, more details on this could not be revealed but while developing history, varying the whole existence of the characters could be avoided.

Overall the book is quite an interesting read. If you are a historical fiction lover, this book will surely be your favorite one.


Ruchir Gupta is a graduate of Upstate Medical University and currently practicing medicine in Long Island, NY, where he lives with his wife and daughter. He has authored several books on anesthesiology. His interests include reading, blogging, traveling, and learning history. Mistress of the Throne is his debut novel.

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