The Splendor of Silence: A Novel Hardcover – Sep 12 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Sundaresan (A Feast of Roses) returns to her native India for a sprawling story of forbidden love set against the backdrop of WWII and the struggle for Indian independence. U.S. Army Capt. Sam Hawthorne comes to the small kingdom of Rudrakot in the Sukh desert of western India, ostensibly to recover from an injury suffered during a rescue mission behind Japanese lines in Burma. Sam has secrets, however. He's a spy, a member of the fledgling OSS, and he's looking for his brother Mike, who disappeared while serving in a local regiment, the Rudrakot Rifles, where "even his name was false." Complicating matters, Sam has a brief but torrid affair with Mila, the daughter of the kingdom's Indian political agent, who is betrothed to the local prince. As Sam plots to free his brother from a nearby detention center, Mila's brother Ashok becomes involved in a nationalist plot to bomb the car of the local British representative in Rudrakot. The myriad subplots and some overwriting detract, but Sundaresan renders Rudrakot vividly and the sympathetic (if doomed) characters generate enough friction to keep the pot boiling. (Sept.)
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"Sundaresan unfolds her bittersweet story in flashbacks that are full of sharply drawn details and adroit dialogue. It's a riveting read."
-- The Seattle Times
"Finely researched and full of evocative details, this sweeping tale of intrigue brings to life a fascinating era with richly drawn characters and a story that is engrossing, deep, and surprising."
-- Samina Ali, author of Madras on Rainy Days
"There's no question that Sundaresan is a gifted storyteller with an obvious passion for history."
-- USA Today --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Though he knows better, Sam cannot resist a tryst with Mila, engaged to a prince and the daughter of the kingdom's Indian political agent, who took the American into his home. He learns that his brother is a prisoner at a detention center and that Mila's brother Ashok has joined a group planning to assassinate the British representative in Rudrakot. If he stops the plot, he loses his chance to free his sibling.
Though the myriad of subplots can become difficult to follow though needed to emphasize the complexity of India in WW II, Indu Sundaresan provides historical fans with A FEAST OF ROSES as the deep look at Rudrakot enables readers to understand the war effort vs. the quest for independence. The story line is character driven by the locals who bring to vivid life the time and place. Sam is an interesting protagonist as he knows better, but cannot resist the lure of Mila. Fans will appreciate this strong historical tale.