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The Splendor Of Silence: The Voice Of Indian History

By Staff

A well written historical fiction is an asset to the literature and the pride of a generation. A historical fiction will reach the wide mass of readers if it is written with pure literary craftsmanship, imagination and authentic research. The Indian English writer Indu Sundaresan's third novel The Splendor Of Silence is a testimonial to this literary category.

The Splendor Of Silence explores the racial prejudices, nationalist spirits and religious fanaticism of the 1942 colonized India through the beautiful thread of a romantic story. It has the details of any other novel based on the Indian freedom movement. But what makes The Splendor Of Silence quite unique is the true Indian nationalist's passion for a foreign soul. The novel tells the impossibility for two souls to merge at a time of Indian freedom struggle and the price they have to pay for their boundary less passion.

U.S. Army Capt. Sam Hawthorne comes to the small kingdom of Rudrakot in the Sukh desert of western India, during the aftermath of World War II. He is on a mission to recover his missing brother Mike, who was serving in a serving in a local regiment-The Rudrakot Rifles.

What awaited Sam at India was a totally unexpected turn in life. He fell in love with Mila, the daughter of the kingdom's Indian political agent, who is betrothed to the local prince. The affair turned out to be brief, passionate and a torrid one. However Mila is torn between loyalty to her family and Sam. She decides to marry Jai leaving behind her true love to the foreigner.

The Splendor Of Silence opens twenty-one years later with Olivia, Sam's daughter, receiving a trunk of treasures from India, along with a letter from an unknown narrator. The letter fills all the silences of Olivia's childhood — telling her the story of her parents' passionate and enduring love for each other. The letter also explains the situation in which they are thrown apart on the background of the explosive circumstances of a country and a society on the brink of independence from British rule.

Splendor of Silence is a lush, poetic and exquisitely crafted novel that should appeal to anyone who loves reading. The myriad subplots and some overwriting detract, but Sundaresan renders Rudrakot vividly and the sympathetic characters generate enough friction to keep the pot boiling. The author, Indu Sundaresan, skillfully weaves romance with historical fiction, making for a satisfying, poignant and highly recommended read.

Story first published: Monday, May 26, 2008, 15:14 [IST]
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