The Mulberry Empire [Paperback]
- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication Date:
- 03 February 2003
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This book uses many different characters to explore life in the British Empire in England, Afghanistan and India. One of my favorite characters was the aristocrat Bella who has a love affair with the explorer Burnes. When Burnes returns to Afhanistan, Bella wastes away her life in the country, a very sad portrayal of wasted potential and lost love. The book is most suspenseful and dramatic in the Afghanistan parts, here we see the British try to befriend the Amir, in an effort to obtain his kingdom. Near the end the Afghanistan sections become increasingly terrifying and thrilling.
The Mulberry Empire deals with Britain's abortive attempt to take Kabul in 1839 under competition from the Russians. The story swings from Afghanistan to Moscow and London. Philip Hensher delivers luxurious sentences and interesting characters in all the settings. The book is attractively hefty so keep it back to read when you have time to wallow your way through it. What novels should be.
A strangely structured novel about Britain's early attempts to control Afghanistan in the mid 19th Century, it is told through the stories of a wide range of characters, only some of whom are integral to the story. It is interesting and written with a nice style. Ultimately, I felt it didn't quite work as a novel, but it kept me reading to the end.
Interesting and erudite novel which provides detailed character sketches of some individuals involved in the first Afghan and a very sketchy coverage of what happened.
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