Vasco da Gama set foot in Kerala in 1498 looking for Christians and spices,. His arrival unleashed a wave of political fury that would topple local powers like a house of cards.
One prince, however, emerged triumphant from this descent into chaos. Shrewdly marrying Western arms to Eastern strategy, Martanda Varma consecrated the dominion of Travancore, destined to become one of the most dutiful pillars of the British Raj.
The rest is history for around two centuries of internecine conflict, culminating in a dynastic feud between two sisters battling to steer the fortunes of their house on the eve of Independence and many more are discussed.
Manu S. Pillai‘s retelling of this sprawling saga focuses on the remarkable life and work of Sethu Lakshmi Bayi, the last – and forgotten – queen of the House of Travancore.
Extensively researched and vividly rendered, The Ivory Throne conjures up a dramatic world of political intrigues and factions, black magic and conspiracies, crafty ceremonies and splendorous temple treasures.
The title is translated to Malayalam and published by DC books under the title Danthasimhasanam. It is translated by Prasanna K Varma.