Ambarish Satwik is a surgeon, and so, acutely aware of the quirks and conditions of human anatomy. It is these that are the focus of his remarkably lucid satire. In 13 stories that trace the chronology of Empire—from Bobby Clive’s circumcision, to the final acts that lead to Indian Independence, the author cleverly mixes known fact with anatomical insight, leaving readers hanging between reality and fantasy.
Satwik’s imaginative odyssey will doubtless leave the puritanical distressed and confused. Did the enema his daughter-in-law gave to Bahadur Shah in a Rangoon prison bring on "the quiver of a man carnally affected by a bowel wash"? Did the king really suffer "a torsion of the right testes" during the Coronation Durbar? Could the Viceroy’s lack of sphincter control have led to concessions that eventually got India its freedom? Satwik seems to think so. So will many of his readers.