This is not a book I would ideally have picked up from a book store purely because it is not genre I usually read. So obviously I tend to miss out on a few great books based on my picky preferences but thanks to Random House; I have managed to read some amazing titles that I may have otherwise missed out on.
Also, one of the reasons I did pick this book up to read enthusiastically was William Dalrymple. If William Dalrymple says a book is one of the “best books of 2012” you sit up take note, and eventually pick up and read!
The Mysterious Mr Jacob is about a notorious jeweller Alexander Malcolm Jacob, whose claim to fame was when he tried to sell the world’s largest diamond to India’s richest prince. The deal then sparked a scandal that rocked the highest stratum of the Raj. The story is set in 1981 and features a very popular character who has inspired the likes of Rudyard Kipling’s Kim where he based the character of Lurgan Sahib on Mr Jacob.
The scandal that rocked the Raj when in 1891, a notorious curio-dealer from Simla, Alexander Malcolm Jacob, a man of mysterious origins and colourful infamy. Touted as one of the confidants of viceroys and maharajahs, rubbing shoulders with the creme dela creme of the society he dabbled in magic and was a player in the Great Game. Yet he died an obscure death, carrying to his grave many of his secrets un. What is a meticulous account of Jacob’s life, John Zubrzycki reconstructs events of Mr Jacob’s life through long-lost letters,court records and annotations on secret files, bringing us an awe inspiring study of a man. This has been an amazing read maybe because there is so much curiosity around these characters where not much is known yet they are known for their exceptional activities, the certain amount of curiosity attached to them is what makes these characters so alluring!
Pick this book up for an utterly engaging read, one of those you would want to read on a long train journey.
My rating 3/5
This review is for Random House India; however the opinions expressed here are my own.