The setting is the 16th century and the narrator the Maharaj Kumar, eldest son and heir apparent to the throne of the kingdom of Mewar. Across the centuries, he speaks to us—a melancholy, sophisticated prince—in a voice as heartbreakingly vivid as a lover exchanging confidences over the phone. His story is indeed tragic in its particulars, shot through with fratricidal envy; with the ruthless logic of palace intrigue; with plagues, wartime savagery, and above all, with unforgiveable betrayal. It's this betrayal which defines the novel, gives it its name and animates its protagonist's thoughts. Yet for all the pathos and horror it evokes, this is neither a harrowing story, nor a sad one.