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From the internationally acclaimed and bestselling historians William Dalrymple and Anita Anand, the first comprehensive and authoritative history of the Koh-i-Noor diamond, arguably the most celebrated jewel in the world.

On March 29, 1849, the ten-year-old leader of the Sikh kingdom of the Punjab was ushered into the magnificent Mirrored Hall at the center of the British fort in Lahore, India. There, in a formal Act of Submission, the frightened but dignified child handed over to the British East India Company swathes of the richest land in India and the single most valuable object in the subcontinent: the celebrated Koh-i-Noor diamond, otherwise known as the Mountain of Light. To celebrate the acquisition, the British East India Company commissioned a history of the diamond woven together from the gossip of the Delhi Bazaars. From that moment forward, the Koh-i-Noor became the most famous and mythological diamond in history, with thousands of people coming to see it at the 1851 Great Exhibition and still more thousands repeating the largely fictitious account of its passage through history.

Using original eyewitness accounts and chronicles never before translated into English, Dalrymple and Anand trace the true history of the diamond and disperse the myths and fantastic tales that have long surrounded this awe-inspiring jewel. The resulting history of south and central Asia tells a true tale of greed, conquest, murder, torture, colonialism, and appropriation that shaped a continent and the Koh-i-Noor itself.



About the Author

William Dalrymple

William Dalrymple was born in Scotland and brought up on the shores of the Firth of Forth. He wrote the highly acclaimed bestseller when he was twenty-two. The book won the 1990 Yorkshire Post Best First Work Award and a Scottish Arts Council Spring Book Award; it was also shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize. In 1989 Dalrymple moved to Delhi where he lived for six years researching his second book, , which won the 1994 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award and the Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year Award. , his acclaimed study of the demise of Christianity in its Middle Eastern homeland, was awarded the Scottish Arts Council Autumn Book Award for 1997; it was also shortlisted for the 1998 Thomas Cook Award, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the Duff Cooper Prize. A collection of his writings about India, , won the French Prix D'Astrolabe in 2005. was published in 2003, the book won the Wolfson Prize for History 2003, the Scottish Book of the Year Prize, and was shortlisted for the PEN History Award, the Kiryama Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. William Dalrymple is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Asiatic Society, and is the founder and co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival. In 2002 he was awarded the Mungo Park Medal by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society for his 'outstanding contribution to travel literature'. He wrote and presented the television series and , which won the Grierson Award for Best Documentary Series at BAFTA in 2002. His Radio 4 series on the history of British spirituality and mysticism, , won the 2002 Sandford St Martin Prize for Religious Broadcasting and was described by the judges as 'thrilling in its brilliance. .. near perfect radio'. In December 2005 his article on the madrasas of Pakistan was awarded the prize for Best Print Article of the Year at the 2005 FPA Media Awards. In June 2006 he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Letters by the University of St Andrews "for his services to literature and international relations, to broadcasting and understanding". In 2007, won the prestigous Duff Cooper Prize for History and Biography. In November 2007, William received an Honourary Doctorate of Letters, , from the University of Lucknow University "for his outstanding contribution in literature and history", and in March 2008 won the James Todd Memorial Prize from the Maharana of Udaipur. William is married to the artist Olivia Fraser, and they have three children. They now live on a farm outside Delhi.



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