Fortune’s Soldier by Alex Rutherford review.


A historical fiction which sheds light on the dawn of the British Empire in India.

It’s 1744, Nicholas Ballantyne dreams of becoming a laird (heir) of his ancestral estate in the Scottish highlands, but fate has other plans. He is sent to Hindustan, on a ship named ‘Winchester’. He meets Robert Clive, who dreams of making a name and fortune by hook or crook in Hindustan.

Nicholas and Clive befriend each other and we read about Nicholas’s journey in the country and about Clive’s workings and his hunger for power, being at the epicenter of East India company and constantly hatching plans to chuck the rival French interests in the country.

Set in five parts, it neatly examined the insider workings of the East India company, one which we didn’t read much in history textbooks. How the British were able to craft their way in a superpower country was executed nicely.

Characterization was good. I really liked Nicholas’s character, Harry Ross and Tuhin Singh. This book took me back in time as I read about the Nawabs, Bengal, the French working and the East India company.

What I liked:

Imaginative story, complete with a slice of history.

Internal workings of the East India company as they try to establish a strong hold in the country.

What I didn’t like:

The constant parabolic nature of the plot.

Too many characters.

The book dragged a lot in between.

It didn’t pick up pace for the first 100 pages.

Thank you Hachette India for the review copy and organising the readalong.

You can get a copy for yourself here.

Picture and opinions are my own.

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