Empire of the Moghul: The Serpent’s Tooth. By Alex Rutherford. Headline. 421pp. $29.99.
History’s most dysfunctional dynasty returns in the fifth book in the Moghul series. In 1628 Shah Jahan is crowned the new Moghul Emperor. Tragedy soon strikes when his beloved wife dies. Consumed with grief, Jahan constructs the Taj Mahal as a monument of his love. Distracted, he fails to notice the conflict in his family as his sons begin a bloody war for the throne. Rutherford’s fifth book once more combines the glittering details of Moghul court life and the savagery of their culture. Family dynamics are closely explored and provide a chilling insight into how the Moghul family frequently turned on each other. Vividly descriptive, Rutherford provides an extensive look at a proud nation and their deadly rulers.