A Singular Hostage

Publisher: Bantam
In a land of exotic splendor, a young Englishwoman finds herself guardian of an orphan child believed by a dying maharajah to be endowed with magical gifts. It is a role that will take her on a perilous journey into a kingdom’s walled city to protect a child she doesn’t know from a culture she doesn’t understand...

A Singular Hostage

The year is 1838. Mariana Givens, a spirited young woman of twenty, has been sent to India to find a suitable husband. Traveling as a translator, she joins the entourage of Lord Auckland, the British Governor-General, as he journeys across India with an army ten thousand strong to meet the fabled Ranjit Singh, Maharajah of the Punjab.

Eager young officers compete for Mariana’s favor, but it is with India that she falls in love: the baggage elephants tramping through country vast and wild; the scent of exotic foods at remote campsites; the enigmatic tutor who is her guide to native languages and ways. Lord Auckland must forge an alliance with Ranjit Singh that will deliver Afghanistan into British control, but as he negotiates his crucial treaty, Mariana is drawn into a perilous conspiracy surrounding the one-eyed Maharajah’s baby hostage--a child of mystical repute named Saboor.


Chapter 1


As a watery light filtered into her tent, Mariana Givens awoke with a start. Overhead, rain whispered against canvas. She sat up and pushed her hair from her face. Why had she awakened so suddenly? Had an unusual sound, a voice, come from outside?

As she...
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"Sometimes lyrical and zippy ... this richly populated novel is notable for an odd combination of strengths: a compelling mysticism, a convincing historicity and a flare for slapstick comedy sending up both the Indian and British patriarchies."
Publisher's Weekly