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The Koh-i-Noor is the world’s most famous diamond, but it has always had a fog of mystery around it. Now using previously untranslated Sanskrit, Persian, and Urdu sources, and the discoveries of modern gemmologists to reconstruct its original form, William Dalrymple and Anita Anand blow away the legends to reveal its true history – stranger and more violent than any fiction.
Kohinoor is a tale of greed, conquest, murder, torture, colonialism, and appropriation. Revealing previously unknown moments in the diamond’s history, the story sweeps from the century the Koh-i-Noor spent embedded in the Mughals’ fabulous Peacock Throne to the years it languished unrecognized on a mullah’s desk, used as a paperweight, through to the torture chamber in an attempt to extract the truth about the gem’s hiding place. It is now locked in the Tower of London, where it continues to arouse passions as India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Taliban all demand its return.
William Dalrymple is an acclaimed historian and bestselling author whose books include City of Djinns, White Mughals, The Last Mughal, Nine Lives, and Return of a King. His many awards include the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, the Wolfson Prize for History, the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize, the Hemingway Prize and the Vodafone/Crossword Award for non-fiction.
Anita Anand has been a radio and television journalist in Britain for over twenty years, presenting major programmes on BBC. Her first book, Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary, is a highly acclaimed biography of the daughter of Maharaja Duleep Singh, who was forced to hand over the Koh-i-Noor to the British after they annexed his kingdom in 1849.