Dig into history, urban war, illicit love

New Delhi: Here are five new books to add to your reading list this week:

1. "The Begum`s Secret": Written by AK Srikumar; Published by Penguin Books-India; Priced at Rs 299.

For Lucknow, the year 1784 might have passed as its predecessor - unsung and cheerless, - but for a significant piece of news. A messenger from Calcutta announced the arrival of the `Laat Sahib`, or the British viceroy of India. The people of the fetid capital of Awadh by the Gomti river were invigorated. It meant employment.

Writer Srikumar recreates the last days of Awadh, ravaged by poverty, grime and a sliding culture in a language that is lyrical, lucid and haunting. Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula strives to come to terms with his new British masters as uncertainty looms on the fates of Begum Shams-un-Naisa, prince Wazir Ali and the royal aides. The answer to immortality in a fast-changing India lay in one of the country`s biggest Imambara...It is the Begum`s secret.

2. "Street Game": Written by Christine Feehan, Published by Hachette (India edition); Priced at Rs 350.

Thriller writer Christine Feehan goes beyond the boundaries of paranormal romance as two lovers take to the streets to play the most dangerous game of all - urban warfare.

For Mack McKinley and his team of Ghost Walker killing machines, urban warfare is an art. Danger is just the name of the game. But now Mack has come face-to-face with a woman who can play just as rough. Jaimie is back into Mack`s life to take on an enemy so potent that it can either destroy them or reunite them for life. It is a roller coaster of an adrenaline ride.

3. "Illicit": Written by Dibyendu Palit and translated by Arunava Sinha; Published by Penguin India; Priced at Rs 150.

Dibyendu Palit, a celebrated novelist and short-story writer, has explored the psyche of the Bengali middle class and their emotional upheavals.

Eight years into her marriage to Ashim, responsible and conscientious to a fault, Jeena, an attractive housewife finds herself drawn to Partha Mukherjee. Stolen glances and clandestine meetings lead to a weekend trip to Puri while Ashim is away on business. At Puri, however, after a night of passion turns violent, Jeena is besieged with doubts about illicit relationships.

4. "Pieces to Peace: Taking Little Steps"; Written by Radhika Nagrath; Published by Diamond Books, Priced at Rs 250.

India symbolises all that is peaceful and balanced. Radhika Nagrath pays homage to the changing India of her times through glimpses of contemporary realities. In day to day life, we are constantly at war with our inner selves. Most of the times, we live in pieces - shattered rather than being a whole piece and, thus, peace eludes us.

Attempts have been made by mankind to prevent wars but the conflicts refuse to die. The book is like a manual to peace that every civilised society aspires for. At an individual level, the book allows us to convert anger, greed and jealousy to positive energy.

5. "A Masterful Spirit": Written by Homi J.Bhabha; Published by Penguin Books, Priced at Rs 1,299.

It presents the life and achievements of Homi J Bhabha, one of India`s outstanding scientists who shouldered the beginning of India`s nuclear programme, through previously unpublished letters, photographs, paintings and students.

The book is an exercise in acquaintance with different facets of Bhabha`s personality as a physicist, institution builder, concerned citizen, artist and connoisseur of the arts.



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