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Return of a King: The Battle For Afghanistan 1839 - 1842 Book Launch

Hyderabad: December 11, 2012: Prize-winning and bestselling historian William Dalrymple returns with his biggest book yet. Return of a King is a history which resonates with contemporary politics and reads like a richly drawn novel. Using previously undiscovered Afghan sources, here for the first time is the full story of Britain's disastrous adventure in Afghanistan that begs the question: have we learnt anything from history? With a riveting narrative and a complex cast of characters-shahs, amirs, sepoys, British generals and Russian ambassadors - Return of a King is history at its best.

In the spring of 1839, British forces invaded Afghanistan for the first time. Led by lancers in scarlet cloaks and plumed shakos, nearly 20,000 British and East India Company troops poured through the high mountain passes and re-established on the throne Shah Shuja ul-Mulk.

On the way in, the British faced little resistance. But after two years of occupation, the Afghan people rose in answer to the call for jihad and the country exploded into violent rebellion. The First Anglo- Afghan War ended in Britain's greatest military humiliation of the nineteenth century: an entire army of the then most powerful nation in the world ambushed in retreat and utterly routed by poorly equipped tribesmen.

Taj Deccan offered the city's literati a memorable experience by hosting the launch of this remarkable book at the poolside lawns, authenticity being the hallmark of this dedicated team, well-researched recipes came together in an afghan inspired setting to ensure that guests were served the most exotic fare amidst thematic decorations evoking a sense of history and reflecting the rich culinary legacy of the region.

The other highlight of the evening was a specially crafted menu by Executive Chef Sajesh Nair who put together a unique compilation of vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies such as Kebab e Murgh(succulent chicken skewers), Samosa(minced lamb patty), Falafel with Humus & Tahini(a deep- fried patty or made from ground chickpeas, fava beans or both served with traditional accompaniments of humus and sesame dip), Spinach and Cheese Fatayer a type of pastry that is usually stuffed with meat and spinach and cheese are also commonly used as a filling. Grilled Paneer Charmoula (cottage cheese grilled and served with a delightful lemon, garlic, herb marinade with a sprinkling of cumin and spicy red pepper sauce).

William Dalrvmple
William Dalrymple is the bestselling author of In Xanadu, City of Djinns, From the Holy Mountain, The Age of Kali, White Mughals, The Last Mughal and, most recently, Nine Lives. He has won the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, the Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year Award, the French Prix d'Astrolabe, the Wolfson Prize for History, the Scottish Book of the Year Award, the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize, the Asia House Award for Asian Literature, the Vodafone Crossword Award and has three times been longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. In 2012 he was appointed Whitney J. Oates Visiting Fellow in Humanities at Princeton University. He lives with his wife and three children on a farm outside Delhi.

Praise for Nine Lives
'The celebrated historian and traveller at his exuberant and erudite best... It is impossible not to be profoundly moved by the stories in Nine Lives' PICO IYER, Time magazine.

'Dalrymple writes about India with more knowledge and elegance than does any Indian I know...It is unputdownable.Jt is a priceless documentary of different people whose existence I was only vaguely aware of. I feel enriched after reading Nine Lives and strongly recommend it' KHUSHWANT SINGH, The Telegraph

'Nine Lives remains oddly gripping, and often very moving, in its first-person accounts, framed by minimal explanations, of spiritually-minded people that Dalrymple meets on his travels across the subcontinent' PANKAJ MISHRA, The National

Praise for The Last Mughal
'William Dalrymple's captivating book is not only great reading, it contributes very substantially to our understanding of the remarkable history of the Mughal empire' - AMARTYA SEN

Praise for White Mughals
'No brief review can do justice to its manifold excellence ... This is quite simply a stunning achievement' Independent on Sunday

William Dalrymple is available for interviews or to write features. Through December and January he will be on a nationwide tour delivering a series of talks about Return of a King with appearances at major literary festivals.
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