Michael Preston

A Teardrop on the Cheek of Time
  • A Teardrop on the Cheek of Time

  • In 1631, the heartbroken Moghul Emperor, Shah Jahan, ordered the construction of a monument of unsurpassed splendour and majesty in memory of his beloved wife. Theirs was an extraordinary story of passionate love: although almost constantly pregnant - she bore him fourteen children - Mumtaz Mahal followed her husband on every military campaign.But then Mumtaz died in childbirth. Blinded by grief, Shah Jahan created an exquisite and extravagant memorial for her on the banks of the river Jumna. The Taj Mahal took twenty years to build and depleted the Moghul treasuries.But Shah Jahan was to pay a greater price for his obsession. He ended his days imprisoned by his own son in Agra Fort, gazing across the river at the monument to his love. The building of the Taj Mahal had set brother against brother and son against father in a savage conflict that pushed the seventeenth century's most powerful empire into irreversible decline.

Diana Preston is an Oxford-trained historian, writer, and broadcaster who lives in London. She is the author of The Road to Culloden Moor; A First Rate Tragedy: Robert Falcon Scott and the Race to the South Pole; The Boxer Rebellion and Wilful Murder: The Sinking of the Lusitania. Michael Preston, Diana Preston's husband, read English at Oxford University and is now an historian and traveller.

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