This ninth novel penned by Salman Rushdie contains major themes such as eroticism, sex and humanism, and a debate as opposed to authoritarianism. It could be considered as a work of magic realism. The story is about the visit of a European to the Mughal emperor, Akbar’s court. He claims that he is born of an exiled Indian princess and an Italian from Florence and that he is a long lost relative of the king. Will the Mughal emperor believe him?
“The author discusses the many diverse qualities of Roman art in terms of its development within Italy and the Empire, but offers as well a perceptive and original account of the cross-currents between Rome and the East. His history is enhanced by hundreds of imaginatively chosen reproductions, which have been specially selected to accompany each section of the text — brilliant and faithful photographs of Rome’s great temples, palaces, circuses, viaducts, frescoes and scuptures, and even of the Romans’ daily utensils and pottery.”