Ivory Throne: Chronicles of the House of Travancore eBook

In , when Vasco da Gama set foot in Kerala looking for Christians and spices, he unleashed a wave of political fury that would topple local powers like a house of cards The cosmopolitan fabric of a vibrant trading society with its Jewish and Arab merchants, Chinese pirate heroes and masterful Hindu Zamorins was ripped apart, heralding an age of violence and bloodshed 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 What followed was two centuries of internecine conflict in one of India s premier princely states, culminating in a dynastic feud between two sisters battling to steer the fortunes of their house on the eve of Independence 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 The supporting cast includes the flamboyant painter Raja Ravi Varma and his wrathful wife, scheming matriarchs of violent, profligate and sordid character, wife swapping court favourites, vigilant English agents, quarrelling consorts and lustful kings 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, all harnessed in a tragic contest for power and authority in the age of empire Ivory Throne: Chronicles of the House of Travancore


About the Author: Manu S. Pillai

Manu S Pillai was born in Kerala in 1990 and educated at Fergusson College, Pune, and at King s College London Following the completion of his master s degree, where he presented his thesis on the emergence of religious nationalism in nineteenth century India, in 2011 12, he managed the parliamentary office of Dr Shashi Tharoor in New Delhi and was then aide to Lord Bilimoria CBE DL, a crossbencher at the House of Lords in London in 2012 13 That same year he was commissioned by the BBC as a researcher to work with Prof Sunil Khilnani on the Incarnations history series, which tells the story of India through fifty great lives The Ivory Throne is Manu s first book.



10 thoughts on “Ivory Throne: Chronicles of the House of Travancore

  1. says:

    Absolutely fantastic, and the strange thing is, if you had asked me when I was even at about page 400 out of 555 I probably would have used milder adjectives I also wouldn t have thought at that point that I was likely to change my opinion later because knowing the direction, I didn t think the last 100 or so pages would even be interesting to me But while they re not really the focus of the book, andan ine


  2. says:

    Am in awe of this magnum opus book and it s young, erudite author A niggling doubt whether he s related to the Ivory throne family The Kerala I was born in and the Kerala I knew has a vivid history with varying chieftains and kings fighting against each other I was born in the Zamorin s territory but had heard of Marthanda Varma and Sri Chithirarhirunal.Having learnt in a state syllabus school history of Keral


  3. says:

    Very well written book Just could not keep it down The story of thr unknown maharani of travancore Written from the perspective, her feelings her fears, her happiness her sorrows By the end started to admire her personality People of kerala deserves to know about her A must read for all keralites.


  4. says:

    Even though he made excellent research over house of Travancore, I feel he is a bit prejudiced over one side For eg on chapter malice domestique, there is a reference to press regulation act, there author states a motive behind controlling press is because some newspaper published stories facts we may never know which is truth against royal consort In following pages, author tried to whitewash her doings by stating


  5. says:

    One of the first things I do when I come home to Kerala on vacations is book shopping Specifically, books by Indian authors This time, I found this gem by Manu Pillai The Ivory Throne is the history of the royal house of Travancore but it is also in many ways the history of Kerala s evolution to its current avatar Meticulously researched non fiction penned like fiction making it unputdownable I highly recommend this to


  6. says:

    A well written documentation about Travancore Interesting, worth reading.


  7. says:

    It is 700 pages of bliss Especially to one who is unaware of Kerala history, this book is an eye opener Thoroughly researched and cleverly written, it becomes one of the must have books in your shelf Manu has become the Indian Dalrymple, keeping the reader clued in to history from the beginning till the end The sandwiched photographs of the royals and the palaces is an absolute delight And I strongly believe this is the way,


  8. says:

    Quite a boring book Felt like book was commissioned by the Rani Lakhshmi Sethu Bai This book is not even about Travancore family as the book title mentioned Rather than the history of Travancore family, the book is biased towards and concentrates too much on Sethu Lakshmi Bai And at times it felt like writer try to whitewash unjustifiable parts of her reign Too much attention on palace politics such as court intrigues, jealousy


  9. says:

    Manu S Pillai s book, The Ivory Throne tells the history of the royal family of Travancore This book was of special interest to me as my family was from the kingdom of Travancore I have heard my father tell some of the stories in the book and seen the palaces in Trivandrum first hand The book focuses mainly on the Queen Sethu Lakshmi Bayi who ruled for a short while from 1924 to 1933 and was quite a remarkable ruler Travancore had


  10. says:

    Make no mistake in tagging The Ivory Throne as a fascinating book about the history of the royal family of Travancore and one that would give rousing pleasure to history especially of India and Indian places fanatics like me but it is still hard for me to dismiss the possible hagiographical elements present in the biographical facets of this volume Pillai himself admits that the book is purely based on his correspondence to one side


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