Book Reviews: Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan and Caged

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Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan - Ruby Lal (July 3, 2018)

Most of what I know about Mughal Empress Nur Jahan comes from a childhood trip to India and the fabulous historical novel The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan. Now, Ruby Lal has written an intriguing biography of this woman, whose historical deeds are shrouded in myth. The twentieth wife of Mughal emperor Jahangir, Nur Jahan was the first Mughal woman to rule alongside her husband as co-sovereign. Much of her success and power has been attributed to Jahangir’s addiction to opium and alcohol, but there was more to it than that. Lal presents a fascinating portrait of this shrewd and capable woman, and provides a glimpse at the influence she had during her own time and the legacy she left behind that carries into ours. 

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Caged - Ellison Cooper (July 10, 2018)

It can be hard to find a good crime novel with a fresh perspective, which is why I enjoyed Caged so much. This twisted novel follows Sayer Altair, who is a neuroscientist with the FBI conducting research into the brains of serial killers. But she’s called away from her desk work when two officers are shot in a house where the dead body of a girl is found. It’s a fantastic, slightly gruesome read that fits in nicely with other police procedurals (this is *not* a psychological thriller). The main character is intriguing, to be sure, though I’m looking forward to getting to know her (and learning more about her research) in future novels. While this book didn’t blow me away, it’s a solid entry in the procedural genre and I will absolutely read the next installment.

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