Why should someone want to read India Fortunes or India Treasures?
Lots of reasons! But here are only a couple:
I think they're entertaining. Above all, I tried to tell good
stories, with characters the reader will care about. The
characters face challenges in ways that are usually relevant to our
own problems today. Each book is tied together by a
search for a Maharaja's legendary hidden treasure, and what could be
more fun than a treasure hunt?
I think the books are a good introduction to a country we should all know
more about. India is the world's most populous democracy.
Although it has a huge population of poor people, its middle
class of consumers is roughly the same size as that in the
United States--an immense market. An influential minority in the
U.S. and the U.K. has immigrated from there, including a large
proportion of our software developers, medical doctors, and
engineers (not to mention motel operators and taxi drivers).
India is the major "power" in South Asia, with
atomic weapons. And farther back in history, two major world
religions, Buddhism and Hinduism, originated in the Indian
How do India Fortunes and India Treasures differ from other novels about
Virtually all other English language novels set in India depict
only one time period, usually during the British occupation (if
the author is English), or in the twentieth century (if the
author is Indian or American).
Fortunes and India Treasures portray a large number of the historical
persons and events that influenced the development of the
culture and society. The format is similar to the one pioneered
by James A. Michener, although my writing style differs from his
in that I use less narrative description and more actual
dramatic scenes, and I think my book works on more than one
wrote India Treasures and the sequel India Fortunes
as a single mammoth book containing
stories in major historical periods from ancient times to the
present. After completing the writing, I decided that a single
novel would be so huge as to be unwieldy, as well as quite
expensive to produce, so I divided it in two. Each book is
mostly self-contained, even though they're tied together by the
two parts of the treasure hunt. And information from the stories
in one book enhances the understanding and enjoyment of tales in
the other book.
there are lots of maps in the books and a number of
illustrations. I think those help both the understanding and the
enjoyment of the novels.
At 640 pages, India Treasures is still a long book, as is
India Fortunes at 576 pages. Aren't a lot of people too
pressed for time to read such big works?
Not necessarily. Each book is divided into eight novellas of varying
lengths. Although the stories are related to each other, each of them
is self-contained. People can read them as time allows.
fact, I'd argue that the books are huge bargains, since each can
provide entertainment over a relatively long period of time. The reader
gets eight "books" of varying lengths for the price
of one, and all of it for less than the price of a dinner in a
restaurant or a couple of movie tickets.
Why did you decide to write novels about India?
I like to read big historical novels myself for entertainment
and escape, as well as for learning about other times and
cultures. Immersion in that type of book is probably the closest
we can get to "time travel," except maybe for a well
done movie, which doesn't last as long.
known since an early age that I'd like to write that type of
novel myself. But it took decades before I felt I had enough
experience of life to have a good grounding upon which to base
writing with some depth, and before I found specific subject
matter that compelled me to write.
came across a short biography of the ancient Indian emperor
Ashoka in Bradford Smith's book Men of Peace, and I found it
incredible that almost no one in the West knows about such a
major and unique figure in world history. I decided he'd make a
good subject for a novel, but I had to learn about the setting
in India first. My wife and I like to travel to places that are
different from the America anyway, so visiting India was a
did do some writing featuring Ashoka (including the novella
"Elephant Driver" in India Treasures), but in
the process, I became more and more intrigued with India--the
people, the landscape, the architecture, the religions, the
society in general. I wanted to learn a lot more about it. And
in my reading, I discovered that no one had yet written a work
of fiction about India using a Michener-type framework. So I
decided that was one of my missions in life.
Copyright © 2001
Gary Worthington. All rights reserved.
Revised: February 21, 2016