Masala Shakespeare by Jonathan Gil Harris had captivated me to no end. I was so much in thrall of Harris’ writing that I grabbed the copy of The first Firangis. The book gives us an account of many firangis who came to India and blended in the culture of the subcontinent ‘before the British Raj.’The book showcases the story of
12 firangis who came down to India either with the invaders or to seek shelter away from chaos of their country. These are remarkable stories of healers, missionaries, charlatans, courtesans, even.Jonathan Gil Harris has unearthed minutest information that he could get his hands on about these characters. Stories of Malik Ambar, Gracia da Orta, Thomas Stephens, Austin Hunarmand like many others will blow your mind. We have read books in the past that talk about Firangis during the British Raj but rarely do we come across books like The first Firangis. It is one well-researched tome.Did I like the book? Certainly. It is captivating while you are reading it. However, if compared to Masala Shakespeare, I would definitely give an upvote to the former.Nonetheless, penned in an understandable language, this book is sure to appease lovers of historical non-fiction.

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