Book Review: The Mountain of Light – Indu Sundaresan

The Mountain of Light coverTitle: The Mountain of Light
Author: Indu Sundaresan
ISBN: 9781451643510
Pages: 352
Release Date: October 8, 2013
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Genre: Historical Fiction, South Asia
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5


The year is 1830 and Shah Shuja, the former leader of Afghanistan, is a guest of Ranjit Singh, the Maharaja. Singh has taken Shuja in for one reason: he has, in his possession, the Kohinoor Diamond, a 105-carat gemstone that has determined the fates of rulers and empires. Shuja has hidden the diamond from Ranjit Singh, but Singh is patient; he knows that eventually, the gem will be his. Over the years, the Kohinoor Diamond passes from owner to owner, changing the lives of everyone who holds it.

Bloggers Recommend October Pick:

The Mountain of Light by Indu Sundaresan (October 8, Washington Square Press) The Kohinoor diamond: It’s been an object of obsession and love and has had the power to prop up certain rulers and bring down others. Sundaresan weaves a tale about the takeover of India by the British, telling the story through the prism of the infamous gemstone. Historical and cultural fiction fans should take note of this absorbing, detailed novel. —Swapna Krishna

Full Review:

The Kohinoor Diamond is a name that Indians know well. It currently sits in the Tower of London, the centerpiece of one of the British crown jewels, but it was once in the hands of the Indians, long before the British claimed it for themselves. Historical fiction author Indu Sundaresan takes up the story of this marvelous diamond, telling the story of mid-1800s Indian history through the prism of the legendary gemstone.

Sundaresan is always great when it comes to historical details, and The Mountain of Light is no exception. She weaves a fascinating tale of rulers and leaders, each of whom has a special affinity for the Kohinoor. India comes alive for the reader through Sundaresan’s descriptions. Indian history during this time period was complex, and the author plunks the reader down right into the middle of it. However, Sundaresan somehow manages to fill the reader in on current events and plug those gaps in history without making the book feel like a school lesson. She’s great at conveying important information while also telling a gripping story.

The characters in The Mountain of Light are what really make the story. There are a lot of them, as the novel is told over a long period of time from many different points of view. Sundaresan develops each and every one of them with care, ensuring that the reader comes to know and understand them. Some characters are easier to like than others, but all are well-written and play an important role in the legend of the Kohinoor.

If you’re looking for a gorgeously written and epic novel full of mystery and exotic locales, then The Mountain of Light is for you. It has a wonderful atmosphere that will draw readers in; they’ll stay for the fascinating story and the need to know what happens. With yet another great book under her belt, Indu Sundaresan is the reigning queen of Indian historical fiction.

Other books by Indu Sundaresan:

In the Convent of Little Flowers: Stories
Shadow Princess

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  1. Liked the historical details so very much in her other books. This one is still new for me.


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