Brothers At War

The Telegraph, Calcutta, January 2013 – The Serpent’s Tooth is Coming!


Hachette also has a big haul for book lovers this year. For one, it has a roster of page-turning thrillers, science fiction and fantasy, crime fiction and even erotic fiction. A biggie will be the fifth instalment of the historical fiction, Mughal series by Alex Rutherford (pen-name for authors Diana and Michael Preston). Empire Of The Moghul: The Serpent’s Tooth, will make it to bookstores by May 2013.

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18 thoughts on “The Telegraph, Calcutta, January 2013 – The Serpent’s Tooth is Coming!”

  1. Luke Willen says:

    Looking forward to TheSerpant’s tooth.Any chance ofanother in the series covering the reign of Auranzeb?

    And for yournext books maybe you could write a series ofnovels coveringSengoku eraJapan.Charecters such asTokugawa Iesasu,Oda Nobunaga,Takeda Shingenetc.An exitingperiod of turbulance, warfare and religion.Various Japanese warring clans and European involvment between the mid 1540s and 1615

    1. diana says:

      Hi Luke,

      thanks for your great suggestions on future subjects … and yes a sixth book on Aurangzeb is definitely coming … just starting the research now – a deep, complex compelling story


  2. Zuber Singh says:

    Tremendous appreciation for all the work Mr Rutherford, though I know that’s not your real names of course! I’m exceedingly keen on reading on Aurangzeb’s story, because that’s when my family steps into the history books; they served under Guru Gobind Singh when he waged war against the Mughals from his mountain citadel of Anandpur, along with his Sikhs. Aurangzeb reign was very long (I do believe he was among the longest reigning of Mughal emperors) and covers an innumerable number of dramatic events, wars, crises, and glorious expansions. Frankly, I am very curious as to how you will be able to compress it all into one book; though I am more than confident it will be an excellent read, just like all the others!

    Once again, much gratitude for the many hours of joy
    -A fan

    1. diana says:

      Dear Zuber,

      Thank you for your comments – It’s great you like the books so much – it makes it all worthwhile to know that readers are enjoying the stories.

      Your comments about your family connections with Guru Gobind Singh are really interesting – you’re right that covering all of Aurangzeb’s reign – the campaigns and the dramas within his close family – in one book will be a real challenge, but fascinating too. At the moment it’s a question of tracking down the best sources to gain a picture of his aims, aspirations and personality – especially the conflicts between his private and public persona. There’s a lot of work ahead …

      Once again thank you so much for writing.

      All best


      1. Zuber Singh says:

        I can’t tell you how excited I am to hear that, Mr Rutherford. Will be visiting India this summer and picking up ‘The Serpent’s Tooth’ is my number one priority! After decades of searching, I’ve finally found a series that so gracefully recreates not just the story of the Mughal dynasty, but also the feel of this aesthetical, romantic and glorious era; the texture of felt tents and silk dresses, the smell of lamb roasting on a spit, the blaze of powder, the sound of ten thousand tongues speaking languages from either side of the Indus, blending together over centuries to form Lashkari, and then Urdu. Reading your works has brought this period back to life for me. I’m pleased to say that after years of indecision, I’ve finally found the inspiration to start on a historical fiction novel of my own, all thanks to reading ‘Empire of the Moghal’, and for this I offer you the ‘nazarana’ of my gratitude. May the darbar that is your readership flourish with tribute from your many vassals across the Subcontinent!

        1. diana says:

          I am truly delighted that the Empire of the Moghul series means so much to you and wish you all the very best for your own project.


  3. rahul says:

    Hi alex

    I always detested history in school but later on in life found it fascinating as it was about real people, real events and real emotions that have shaped the country today. Your books of which i read 3 back to back just makes my belief stronger that indian history can teach us so much about lives beyond just dates and locations.

    ps: my mouth still waters with the royal food you have so vivdly described. Any chances of sharing the receipe.

    1. diana says:

      Hi Rahul

      Apologies for taking so long to reply – things have been a little hectic! I’m really pleased the books have increased your liking for history. I owe my passion for history to a remarkable teacher who brought it truly alive for me.

      I also have a passion for Moghul-type dishes and wish I had the detailed recipes to give you! I recall eating at a restaurant near the Red Fort in Delhi run by descendants of cooks from the Moghul court.I should have asked them for recipes, shouldn’t I? …


  4. Vaneesh Ladia says:

    Dear Diana/ Michael
    I am an ardent fan of your books. The Empire series is not only accurate in historical facts but also makes a very fascinating read, full of suspense and thriller. The fact that all this actually happened in the ‘not so distant past’ makes it even more compelling and i cant wait to get my hands on the The Serpents Tooth.
    After reading your books i have had an opportunity to travel to Agra and visited the fort, tombs etc and I must say that though i had visited all these historical places in the past but never before i was so much in awe. It was as if each room in the Agra fort was alive due to your stories and thanks to your book i visited the Itmudaulla Tomb which i didnt even know existed.
    One thing though that i really missed was the Non Mention of Maharana Pratap Singh in the The Ruler of the World. Can’t fanthom why you missed out on a very important Hero as it is said in India that Akbar’s story is not complete without Maharana’s story.
    With Warm Regards

    1. diana says:


      We’re delighted you enjoy the books and that they helped bring your visit to Agra alive. Did you get to the Mahtab Bagh across the Jumna from the Taj? The Moonlight Garden features a lot in the forthcoming Serpent’s Tooth and is truly beautiful. You can just imagine Shah Jahan walking its paths beneath the stars.

      You raise an interesting point about Maharana Pratap Singh of Mewar. Sadly its sometimes a question of not being able to fit in everything so we focussed on the fall of Mewar under his father.

      with very best regards


      1. Vaneesh Ladia says:

        Dear Diana
        I am afraid i did not visit the Mahtab Bagh but have made a mental note to do so next time i go to Agra which has become one of my fav destinations after reading your books.
        Incidently when i was on the road from where i could see the ‘zharoka’, i did imagine how Shahjahan must have stood there to show himself to public.
        In India, Maharana Pratap is perhaps one of the most remembered heros of the Mughal Era. So it was kind of a disappointing but as you rightly said, its not possible to fit everything all the time.
        My best wishes for your upcoming release and which i am eagerly awaiting for.

  5. Shivraj says:

    Hi Sir/Madam,
    I have read each book written by you on Moghuls. I am deeply in love with your booked that described Moghul era, emperor, empress, food, protocol, wars and above all Moghul richness.
    I am waiting for your book on Aurangjeb. I am also waiting to see a referance of Marathas in your book on Aurangjeb.

    1. diana says:

      Hi Shivraj,

      Thank you for your lovely comments – I too am fascinated by the Moghuls’ opulence and aesthetic sense as well as their power. The Marathas will indeed be centre stage in book six on Aurangzeb’s reign which I’m deep into the research for.

      very best wishes

  6. Shivraj says:

    Hi Sir,
    How come your book does not have any reference about Birbal and Tansen. Was there any mention of Navaratna in Akbarnama?

    1. diana says:

      Hi again Shivraj,

      I didn’t include Birbal and Tansen because of the pressures of having to hone and fine-tune the story of Akbar’s life – so full and rich – to be encompassable in a novel. On Navaratna, I don’t recall … If I find a ref, in the Akbarnama I’ll let you know.



    Please advise when “The Serpent’s Tooth” will be availbale in market, i just finished reading tainted throne and anxiously waiting for the next part.

  8. Tariq Mahmood says:


    I have just read all of the five novels non stop and boy am I glad. Both of you have done a great service to Indian and Pakistani history by reincarnating the Moghuls from obscurity. Is the Aurengzeb novel last in this great series or are you planning to write any more on the Moghul period after Aurengzeb?

    1. diana says:

      Dear Tariq,

      Hi and thank you for your kind comments which are much appreciated. It’s so nice to hear that you really enjoyed the books and think they do justice to the Moghuls. After Aurangzeb …? To be honest we’re not sure yet. We’re just starting work on the Aurangzeb novel which won’t be completed till next year but then we’ll start to focus on what next. It would be very hard to bid the Moghuls farewell.

      with very best wishes and thanks for your interest

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