Sebastian Shakespeare

The Rebel Emperor

The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty, Delhi 1857

By

Bloomsbury 608pp £25 order from our bookshop

What marks William Dalrymple out among other contemporary historians of India is his relish for his subject. His love of the country permeates every page of this new book: his third volume of history centred on Delhi (where he has lived on and off since 1984), it follows on from The City of Djins and White Mughals. The Last Mughal is not so much a biography of the poet-king Zafar as a portrait of the city and its destruction following the Indian Mutiny of 1857. It kicks off with the lavish wedding procession of the royal heir, Prince Jawan Bakht, and ends with Zafar’s burial in an unmarked grave in Rangoon.

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