Tiger Claws

A Novel of India

Novels of India (Volume 2)

John Speed

St. Martin's Press

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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 now 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 novel 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.

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Book Excerpts

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Chapter 1


The brothers say that pleasure cures all fears. But Basant’s fears are many, and his pleasures few.
The lights of the butter lamps dance like fireflies across the marble floor, stopping just short of his jewel-encrusted slippers. Time and again he has studied those lights, and the shadows their flickers form. And now Basant shrinks into a corner, praying that the dark will conceal his plump belly from the palace guards.
To cure his fear, he dissembles, though no one sees him. Basant takes pleasure in dissembling.

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Reviews

Praise for Tiger Claws

Praise for The Temple Dancer:
"The Temple Dancer sweeps the reader into an age of passion and danger, romance, chivalry, and high adventure - an age when a bandit could defy an emperor and a dancing girl change the course of history.  Set against the rich backdrop of Moghul India, The Temple Dancer’s combination of history, intrigue, and forbidden love should appeal to anyone who loves M.M. Kaye's The Far Pavilions and Shadow of the Moon - in fact, it should appeal to anyone who loves a story that will totally intrigue them." 
--India Edghill, author of Queenmaker and Wisdom's Daughter  
"The Temple Dancer is an ocean of a story, filled with adventure, passion and heartbreak.It's compulsively readable and everything you want in a novel."
  --Michael Swanwick, author of Bones of the Earth 
"What an adventure!  Two women, utterly different in culture and outlook, travel across seventeenth century India on elephant back and discover, in the face of betrayal, that they have a great deal more in common than they ever suspected.  Beautifully researched, this novel has it all:  heroes adept with sword and pistol, bold and independent heroines, corrupt rulers, treacherous eunuchs, slippery merchants, and bloodthirsty banditti.  The author stirs them all together with a handsome dose of conspiracy, mysticism, and sensuality to create a splendid entertainment in the grand style. --Karleen Koen, author of author of Through a Glass Darkly and Dark Angels
The Temple Dancer is a lush, loopy, multicultural epic set in 17th –century India, like the cockeyed marriage of a Bollywood musical and an Errol Flynn/Olivia de Havilland movie, well-researched, playfully written, and highly entertaining.”
--Chris Bram, author of Gods and Monsters and Lives of the Circus Animals
"The Temple Dancer is what reading is all about. This book upholds true literature, which is -- the beauty of language. There is a wonderful world here full of enchantment and nourishment."
--Daniel Ladinsky, author of The Gift and I Heard God Laughing 
“Speed conducts a dazzling tour of seventeenth century India. Lavish and lush…mesmerizing…Chock-full of sex, suspense, and peril, this high-voltage adventure yarn will rapidly transport willing readers to vanished time and place. [It] will leave readers craving more.”--Booklist
"A melange of creatively imagined characters populates Speed's first novel, an entertaining historical saga that takes place in 17th-century India. The fast-paced story benefits from intriguing characters and situations twisted just enough to keep them on the safe side of unbelievable... it's driven by a contagious enthusiasm for the people and places encountered throughout the journey... an enjoyable adventure that still has respect for its characters."--Publishers Weekly

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About the Author

John Speed

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.

John Speed

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Available Formats and Book Details

Tiger Claws
A Novel of India
John Speed

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
November 2008
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466809437
ISBN10: 1466809434
448 pages
$7.99

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Griffin
November 2008
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312384593
ISBN10: 0312384599
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 448 pages
$22.99
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