Farzana: The Woman Who Saved an Empire

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Amongst the riches of nineteenth century India, as the British fought their way across Mughal territory, an orphaned streetgirl ends up at court with the ear of the Emperor. That girl was Farzana, and she would become a courtesan, a leader of armies, a treasured defender of the last Mughal emperor and the head of one of the most legendary courts in history. In this beautifully written book, the author's last, Julia Keay weaves a story which spans the Indian continent and the end of a golden era in Indian history, the story of a nobody who became a teenage seductress and died one of the richest and most prominent women of her age. Farzana rode into battle atop a stallion, though only 4 1/2 feet tall, and led an army which defended a sickly Mughal Empire. She dabbled in witchcraft while gaining favour with the Pope, and died a favourite of the British Raj. Farzana is an evocative and moving depiction of one of the most remarkable, and least-known, historical lives of the nineteenth century.