India, 1938. The life of Abhayraj, the heir of Maharaj Hiroji, the ruler of the princely state of Begwad, is not unlike that of many young princes caught between two worlds-indeed, two eras. On the one hand are the traditions of the feudal, close-knit community ruled by his father that he is bound to follow, and on the other the pressures of independence as British dominion over begins to wane.
Seeking a path of his own, Abhay joins the Indian army and fights in the Burma campaign during World War II. On his return, however, he is forced into a conventional marriage, and after his father’s dramatic death becomes the Maharaja, to rule for just forty-nine days before he is compelled to merge his state with free India in 1948.
Hailed as an unusual historical saga at the time of its release, The Princes was first published in New York in 1963 and was selected by the Literary Guild of America as a novel of the month that year. Available now in a beautiful new edition, it offers an enthralling, intimate glimpse into life in India’s princely states through the story of a royal family caught in a struggle for survival, in a nation embracing democracy for the very first time.