Excerpt 1857 Dust of Ages: A Desperate Plan

Sharing one of my favourite scenes in the book :-). Those who have bought and read it, please tell me which one is yours?

From the hilltop, they saw the domes of the palace reflecting the light of the sun. Further downhill, the town was shaking off the vestiges of slumber and coming to life. The birds perched on the temple top fluttered at the sound of the tinkling bells and rose against the red and ochre of the morning sky. The winds of early spring carried the nip of winter.

The little group of riders stood spellbound.

‘Most beautiful time of the year. One short month of spring,’ Richard exhaled.

‘A short respite between winter and the blistering heat that is to come,’ Meera gazed at the scene as her voice reduced to a murmur. Standing next to her, Richard heard in fascination. ‘Soon we would be worrying about drought. And then rains. Floods, epidemic, death. It’s only this… this short time that the land is… this… this beautiful.’

‘And yet it’s so important to you.’

‘Yes,’ Meera’s dark eyes met Richard’s brown ones with uncommon seriousness. ‘It’s harsh. But I haven’t known anywhere else. This place, this way of life, we know only this.’ Meera took in a deep breath as if drinking in the scene in front of her. ‘All I do know, Captain Smith, for me Navgarh is… jaan se badkar.’

 There was silence as the landscape absorbed the words of its ambitious and troubled Princess and witnessed the fascination of the man beside her.

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