#BooksForYou | Robert Clive, the Fortune’s Soldier

Editor | Historical Fiction

How did the British Raj come about in India? Alex Rutherford, international bestselling author of the Empire of the Moghul series, explores the life of the man who paved the way for the Raj, with the epic story of Robert Clive and the dawn of the British Empire in India.

The Fortune’s Solider (Published by Hachette) is a brilliantly crafted historical novel on one of the most controversial figures in Indian’s colonial history by the London-based husband-and-wife writing team Diana and Michael Preston, who write under the pen name Alex Rutherford.

Fortune’s Soldier shows Robert Clive as he was in history, his motivations, his nature and character and also a man who just happened to be at the right place at the right time. It depicts India superbly– specifically Calcutta and the Deccan – of the time.

Alex Rutherford highlights how events in Europe affected the outcome of British and other European interests in the subcontinent in the eighteenth century. The writer duo throws light on debatable facets of the period – the intent of the colonizers, the responses and reactions of Indian rulers – and the shifting loyalties that often changed the game for both sides, the plight of the commoners and the soldiers who fought in the Company army.

It is 1744, and Nicholas Ballantyne, a young Scotsman dreaming of a life as laird of his ancestral estate finds himself quite unexpectedly on the Winchester, a ship bound for Hindustan, seeking to begin a new life as a ‘writer’ on the rolls of the British East India Company.

On board, he meets the spirited and mercurial Robert Clive, determined – at whatever cost – to make a fortune in a land of opportunity.

Over the years that follow, their friendship sees many twists and turns as Clive’s restless hunger for wealth and power takes him from being a clerk to a commander in the Company’s forces, masterminding plans to snuff out rival French interests in Hindustan and eventually leading his men to victory at Plassey – the prelude to nearly two centuries of foreign rule in Hindustan.

Brilliantly crafted, and bringing to life the momentous events that shook India in the mid-eighteenth century, Fortune’s Soldier is an epic tale of a fascinating era by a master storyteller.

Historian Wilbur Smith had said this about the earlier the Empire of the Mughal series: “A totally absorbing narrative filled with authentic historical characters and sweeping action set in an age of horrifying but magnificent savagery. The writing is as compelling as the events described and kept me eagerly leaping from one page to the next.”

About the author

Alex Rutherford is London-based husband and wife writing team Diana and Michael Preston.

Diana read modern history at Oxford University. As well as historical fiction she is an award-winning author of several non-fiction books and appears frequently in documentaries including National Geographic TV’s recent ‘Origins’ series for which she also acted as historical consultant.

Michael, the other half of Alex Rutherford, read English at Oxford University. Both halves of Alex are addicted to travel, visiting over 150 countries so far, though India remains firm favourite.

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