The Nizam's Daughters (Matthew Hervey, Book 2) Paperback – 2001
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I am writing this review so that others don't make the mistake of purchasing both books. They are identical.
It is a mission of political intrigue for which he has not training. Worse, he is not even given all of the information that he needs; that information will be provided by a local contact. Wellington believes that the support of Hyderabad will be essential for British interests in India and Hervey is sent to maintain those relations. Instead, he finds himself in the service of a rival potentate. This is most difficult for a fundamentally honest type like him.
The "daughters" of the title do not refer to people. Instead they refer to the Nizam of Hyderabad's huge artillery pieces, the source of much of his power. These are troublesome young ladies especially when allied with the flesh and blood sons of the Nizam.
Hervey is just barely a captain. He finds himself taking on the job of a general in a foreign land. By honor, he must protect the Rajah of Chintal. By orders, he must further the interests of Hyderabad. By inclination, he would rather be back with his regiment in Europe.
It is a light and enjoyable read.
Of course, things don't go to plan: Hervey ends up mixed in local politics and incipient warfare between the princely states. There is a beautiful Rajah's daughter who is causing Hervey no little consternation; nearly as much as "the Nizam's daughters" - a number of long cannon, the best artillery in India.
We get a good look at regency India here, with a number of characters providing surprises of one sort or another. Hervey is still very proper: he is definitely a man you would trust with your wife or sister (like Hornblower, and unlike Jack Aubrey, or especially James Bond!). This does not make him less interesting though, and certainly not boring. He is also not free of pride - when appointed to command the Rajah's armies, he demurs on pragmatic grounds, rather than doubting his abilities to do so (a point then deftly made by the Rajah).
The story is probably a little bit better than the telling, but its more than enough to hold your interest, and keep you reading the series.