Shah-Jahan-‘King of the World’-ruled the Mughal Empire from 1628 to 1658. It is a period identified to be the period of multiculturalism, poetry, fine art and stupendous architecture. His legacy in stone embraces not only the Taj Mahal-the tomb of his beloved second wife, Arjumand Mumtaz-Mahal-but fortresses, mosques, gardens, caravanserais and schools.
While he had an artistic love he had another side too, a ruthless political operator who achieved power by ordering the murder of two brothers and at least six other relatives, an enlightened despot, a king who dispensed largesse to favoured courtiers but ignored plague in the countryside.
Fergus Nicoll has reconstructed this intriguing tale drawing from contemporary biographies, edicts and correspondence, putting together an original portrait that challenges many established legends to bring the man and the emperor to life.