Introducing the Maharajah’s General
(Author Contribution by Paul Fraser Collard)
The Maharajah’s General is the second instalment in the Jack Lark series and sees Jack journey to the wilds of India as he seeks to find a new life for himself on the vibrant and colourful fringes of the Empire.
I knew from the very start that I wanted my series to feature a new setting in every novel. By doing this I could take my readers on a wonderful journey across the British Empire that was at the height of its powers in the middle of the nineteenth century. Jack had survived the slaughter that was the Battle of the Alma, the opening battle of the Crimean War, and so I cast my eye around to find a suitable home for a young rogue with ideas far above his station. It was tempting to leave him in the Crimea and let him find his way into the events that surrounded the siege of Sevastopol which could include the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade and the raw courage of the Thin Red Line. But I had to stay true to my concept and so I decided that, like many a young and ambitious Victorian officer, Jack would seek his fortune in India, the most charismatic and colourful jewel in the British Empire’s crown.
At this time the British government had handed the control of the entire country to East India Company, a mercantile company whose driving motivation was the creation of profit. Backed by politicians eager to see the boundaries of Empire pushed back as far as was possible, the EIC was able to adopt an aggressive series of policies to satiate their need for the acquisition of power. Prime amongst these policies was the Doctrine of Lapse introduced by Governor-General Lord Dalhousie in 1848 that allowed the EIC to annex any independent kingdom where the ruler died without an heir.
When I first read of this policy I knew it would make for a dramatic and fascinating backdrop for a historical novel and so the central plot for the Maharajah’s General was put in pla
ce. Adding a ruthless British political officer to the mix along with a charismatic Maharajah, a beautiful Indian princess and a beguiling English rose and I had all the ingredients that I needed for Jack’s second story. When British ambition clashes with Indian pride, Jack faces some difficult choices that will test his loyalty to its very limits and, when political posturing turns to war, Jack will have to choose on which side he will fight. For there is no place to hide and when the two forces clash Jack has to take his place on the front line, his ambition to prove himself propelling him to the very heart of the action no matter where his personal feelings might take him.
Many thanks for that Paul - and keep watching the blog for the review of the book.