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The Mulberry Empire

The Mulberry Empire

Author(s): Philip Hensher

Location(s): Kabul, Kolkata (Calcutta), London

Genre(s): Fiction, Historical

Era(s): 19th Century

Location

Content

The novel begins in Kabul with the arrival of Burnes, an ambitious young Scot, eager to open up the country to the English. News of his arrival soon reaches the Amir, for whom “the arrival of the new European in town was like the dropping of a rock into the opaque pool of water which was the city, ruffling the surface immediately in ordinary and predictable ways, but disturbing the substance and mass beneath in a manner which could not be seen, or predicted”. Hensher then weaves his story between Burnes’ return to London, his romance with the daughter of an opium-addicted hero of Trafalgar, the Amir’s court, encounters with Carlyle and Palmerston, and the bloody “Great Game” of imperial politics that catapults the novel into the murderous events with which its culminates.

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Lead Review

Evocative and diligently written – Sam Verde – ‘Loaded with exotic local detail, from London to Calcutta, St Petersburg to Kabul… Irresistible.’ Daily Mail

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