A Singular Hostage , native Bostonian and Muslim convert Ali continues the saga of Marianna Givens, a young Englishwoman living in 19th-century "/>
 

A BEGGAR AT THE GATE

Thalassa Ali, Author
Thalassa Ali, Author . Bantam $14 (301p) ISBN 978-0-553-38177-1
Reviewed on: 10/04/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Mass Market Paperbound - 398 pages - 978-0-553-58417-2
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-307-48211-2
Hardcover - 416 pages - 978-0-7472-6980-9
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-01892-1
Hardcover - 333 pages - 978-0-7472-6773-7
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In this sequel to A Singular Hostage , native Bostonian and Muslim convert Ali continues the saga of Marianna Givens, a young Englishwoman living in 19th-century India. Though competently written and often entertaining, the novel feels like exoticism cloaked as historical fiction (the prologue delivers a taste of what's to come: in Calcutta, Marianna encounters a Hindu soothsayer who points his "authoritative, brown hand away from the crowd" and tells her that her "path lies to the northwest" and that she "must return there to find [her] destiny"). Marianna casts her lot with the Sufi family of Shaikh Waliullah as she marries his son, the Punjabi courtier, Hassan Ali Khan. She flees to Calcutta with Hassan's infant son, Saboor, to protect him from the opium-addicted Maharajah of Punjab. After two years in exile, Marianna travels back to Lahore to give Saboor to his father, divorce Hassan and return to respectable British society. Ali convincingly captures both Victorian-era Punjabi and British court culture, and her description of the conniving ineptitude of the British as they travel across the subcontinent humanizes them. Upon arriving in Lahore, the traveling party finds itself caught between warring Punjabi factions. The conclusion, in which Marianna predictably displays a redemptive heroism, sets up for the final book in this trilogy, slated for release in 2005. Agent, Jill Kneerim. (Oct. 5)

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