Companions of Paradise

Thalassa Ali, Author . Bantam $14 (332p) ISBN 978-0-553-38178-8

The final installment of Thalassa's Paradise Trilogy (following A Singular Hostage and A Beggar at the Gate ) finds Mariana Givens living within the confines of the British cantonment at Kabul in 1841, on the eve of the first Afghan war. An assassination attempt in Lahore thwarted by her husband, Hassan Ali Khan (son of a Sufi sheikh), has forced Mariana to leave Lahore, abandoning Hassan (and her stepson, Saboor). Mariana lives miserably in an English microsociety that doesn't recognize her marriage, full of dinner parties and eager suitors. Hassan, meanwhile, is recovering slowly from wounds, and his family is second-guessing Mariana's intentions. As tension escalates between the British (who have deposed the Afghan king, Amir Dost Muhammad, and installed a more friendly rival, Shah Shuja) and the Afghans (who are preparing to attack the British army and its 10,000 "camp followers"), Mariana faces dangerous choices. As in the other books, Ali does a highly credible job creating the clannish atmospheres of the British and Sufi subcultures, and makes the strictures that Mariana and Hassan face (and those of their servants) palpable. The detail she offers (including mystic writings from a variety of traditions) is nicely wedded to the plot, which moves with brisk and engaging efficiency. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/12/2007
Release date: 03/01/2007
Paperback - 422 pages - 978-0-7472-6774-4
Prebound-Glued - 332 pages - 978-1-4177-8849-1
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-0-307-48316-4
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