India, 1658. History blazes in the pages of Tiger Claws as passion and desire ignite India's Muslim-Hindu conflict. The adventure that began with The Temple Dancer w continues as Maya, the temple dancer, traveling by caravan to her new owner, is kidnapped by the bandit prince Shivaji, and their destinies unite. Meanwhile, in the jeweled palace of Agra, Aurangzeb---a fanatic warrior-prince with an insatiable lust for power---conspires with the Eunuch Brotherhood to overthrow his own father, the dissolute Mogul Emperor.Shivaji reforges Maya's broken sword, sparking a rebellion that will rage across India and shatter the Mogul Empire. To this day, the names Shivaji and Aurangzeb inspire fierce love and fiercer hatred. Only the vast canvas of an epic vel can truly embody them. In Tiger Claws, a master storyteller breathes new life into their history---a conflict that shaped the face of India, and our world today.With thrilling, sensual prose, John Speed weaves a rich tapestry of intertwining stories---of commoner and king, of women and the men they love, of Hindu priest and Muslim sheik, of eunuch, farang, and devadasi ; a world of violence, passion, and heartbreak; of unexpected wonder and enduring love.
John Speed began studying Indian history, art and religion while still in high school. For more than 30 years his explorations have deepened, as he became absorbed in tales of the fall of the Mogul Empire and of the rise of the rebel prince Shivaji. In his many visits to India, he has stood on crumbling battlements, crawled through lightless caves, bathed in sacred rivers, wandered through forgotten gardens, prayed at old mosques and ancient temples, joined in night-long kirtans and qwalis, cheered on ecstatic temple dancers, and laid his head at the feet of hundreds of saints both living and dead, Hindus and Muslims alike. Speed is a freelance political consultant and journalist who co-founded a successful online newspaper. He now lives with his dogs in a very small house overlooking Swami's Beach in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California. Tiger Claws is his second novel, following The Temple Dancer.