It is 1744, and Nicholas Ballantyne, a young Scotsman dreaming of a life as laird of his ancestral estate, finds himself unexpectedly on the Winchester, a ship bound for Hindustan, seeking to begin a new life as a ‘writer’ on the rolls of the British East India Company.
On board, he meets the spirited and mercurial Robert Clive, determined – at whatever cost – to make a fortune in a land of opportunity.
Over the years, their friendship sees many twists and turns as Clive’s restless hunger for wealth and power takes him from being a clerk to a commander in the Company forces, masterminding plans to snuff out rival French interests in Hindustan, and eventually leading his men to victory at Plassey – the prelude to nearly two centuries of foreign rule in Hindustan.
Diana Preston, who is one of the two authors who write as Alex Rutherford, tells Historia about finding empathy in a less-than-sympathetic character, Robert Clive, when writing historical fiction.
And Historia will be publishing a review of Fortune’s Soldier soon.