English / India
Queen of ice
Rangachari, Devika (text)
Maduravoyal, Chennai: Duckbill Books,
2014. – 179 p.
Kashmir / 10th century – Queen Didda – Ruthlessness – Power – Gender role
Set in the tenth century in a small kingdom between western Punjab and Kashmir, this enthralling historical novel chronicles the life of the Lohara Princess Didda. Despised by her father for being a girl and having a crippled foot, the beautiful, intelligent girl has only two loyal friends: the shy stable boy Naravahana and Valga, a strong servant girl who acts as the princess’s carrier. When Didda is sold off into marriage to the Kashmir ruler at sixteen, she vows to make the best of her fate and become a great queen – a task she pursues with determination and ruthlessness. Told in alternating chapters from Didda’s and Valga’s points of view, the book deftly portrays an unusually powerful woman whose successful fifty-year reign in Kashmir was trivialized due to gender bias in history writing. Renowned author Devika Rangachari has skillfully combined facts and fiction to create a suspenseful narrative about friendship, betrayal, power schemes, and the fight against gender inequality. (Age: 14+)