I can’t believe I waited 25+ years to read this again! Oh well, the first copy I had I loaned out and never got back. I would give this 10 stars if I could, I had forgotten how good this book was. Thank you Amazon, for recommending books and Listmania — so many wonderful books I would never have found or rediscovered without you! A truly wonderful story of star-crossed lovers, treachery, intrigue, heroism, honor and bigotry. The author has a great feel and understanding of India under the British Raj. The story of Ash and Juli (Anjuli) was incredible. I could literally feel Ash’s pain while he had to sit through watching Juli be married to the evil Maharajah.
The first 2/3 of the book deal with Ash and Julie’s early lives together, culminating in the rescue of Juli from being Suttee with her sister. Those pages have to be some of the most heart stopping, page turning, sit on the edge of your seat excitement that I have ever come across in a book (and I have read a few).
The last portion of the book gets away from Ash and Juli (although they are together) and slows down to tell the story of the British incursions into Afghanistan (sp?)and the resultant disaster of setting up a British mission in Kabul. Ash is still prominent as a “spy” for the guides, in the disguise of a native of the country, but while still a good read, the story takes on a different character from the first portions of the book.
I resolve never to loan this book out again so that I won’t lose it, and to keep it on my “to be read again and again” shelf throughout the years. Highly recommended.
As a side note, if you are searching for a book for a younger teen to read, this is a good choice. The few scenes between Ash and Juli that were sexual in nature were left mostly to one’s imagination. This author is capable of building her scenes without graphic play by play bodice ripping. It’s a door stopper, but well worth the effort.