Ruler of the World (Book Acquired, 5.06.2013)

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Ruler of the World by Alex Rutherford. Pub’s copy:

Alex Rutherford’s internationally bestselling series continues with Ruler of the World, the story of the third great Moghul Emperor, Akbar, leader of a triumphant dynasty which contained the seeds of its own destruction.

Akbar, ruler of a sixth of the world’s people, colossally rich and utterly ruthless, was a contemporary of Elizabeth I, but infinitely more powerful. He extended his empire over much of Asia, skillfully commanding tens of thousands of men, elephants and innovative technology, yet despite the unimaginable bloodshed which resulted his rule was based on universal religious tolerance.

However, Akbar’s homelife was more complicated. He defied family, nobles and mullahs to marry a beautiful Rajput princess, whose people he had conquered; but she hated Akbar and turned Salim, his eldest son, against him. What’s more, as any Moghul prince could inherit his father’s crown and become Emperor, his sons were brought up to be intensely competitive and suspicious of each other: to see each other as rivals for the greatest prize of all. And, as Salim grew to manhood, the relationship between father and son became tainted by rebellion and competition to be the greatest Moghul of them all.

 

Charlemagne Legend (Italo Calvino)

Late in life the emperor Charlemagne fell in love with a German girl. The barons at his court were extremely worried when they saw that the sovereign, wholly taken up with his amorous passion and unmindful of his regal dignity, was neglecting the affairs of state. When the girl suddenly died, the courtiers were greatly relieved—but not for long, because Charlemagne’s love did not die with her. The emperor had the embalmed body carried to his bedchamber, where he refused to be parted from it. The Archbishop Turpin, alarmed by this macabre passion, suspected an enchantment and insisted on examining the corpse. Hidden under the girl’s dead tongue he found a ring with a precious stone set in it. As soon as the ring was in Turpin’s hands, Charlemagne fell passionately in love with the archbishop and hurriedly had the girl buried. In order to escape the embarrassing situation, Turpin flung the ring into Lake Constance. Charlemagne thereupon fell in love with the lake and would not leave its shores.

From Italo Calvino’s Six Memos for the Next Millennium.