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Empire of Enchantment


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A vibrant narrative of India's magical traditions and their journey across the world.

About the Author

John Zubrzycki has worked in India as a diplomat, consultant, tour guide and correspondent for The Australian. His background is in South Asian history and Hindi, and his doctoral thesis (University of New South Wales) concerns historical links between Indian and Western stage magicians. John's previous books include The Last Nizam and The Mysterious Mr Jacob.


`Zubrzycki has found the most wonderful story, and told it brilliantly. It is - quite literally - a book of marvels.' -William Dalrymple, multi-award-winning author of City of Djinns, The Age of Kali, White Mughals, and Nine Lives `John Zubrzycki's Empire of Enchantment, a fantastic and thoroughly engaging history of Indian magic, is bristling with anecdotes ... tales of conjurors, tricksters, illusionists, jugglers, and cunning conmen across the centuries.' -Financial Times `In Empire of Enchantment, John Zubrzycki explores the history of magic rituals in India and the way they shaped western imaginations ... The author ... draws on the accounts left by travellers, merchants, pilgrims and missionaries ... He has a pleasing sense of humour ... and an eye for the absurd.' -Melissa van der Klugt, The Times `An amazing, brilliant, and incredibly erudite book. Zubrzycki's knowledge is dazzling, and his discussions of Indian magicians and their Western imitators or denigrators allow him to tell marvellous stories about animal trainers, snake charmers, not to mention, thieves, Thugs, folk healers, spies, automatons, and about fascinating characters -Thurston, Sleeman, Sorcar - and many more.' -Lee Siegel, Professor of Religion, University of Hawaii, and author of Net of Magic: Wonders and Deceptions in India `Exceptionally well-crafted and brilliantly told, Empire of Enchantment brings alive the most enchanting tales and traditions from the history of Indian magic, packed with an extraordinary cast featuring emperors and politicians, street performers and thugs. Travelling with Zubrzycki from distant antiquity down to our own, more recent times, what this book offers is a universe of pure, unadulterated delight.' -Shashi Tharoor, author of Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India `A strange, deeply learned but consistently entertaining salmagundi of marvels, myths and outrageous cons a surefooted survey of a vast terrain.' -The Spectator `Delightful and charming ... an extraordinarily riveting social history of India, and of India's encounter with the world.' -The National `Empire of Enchantment is a remarkable feat of scholarship and showmanship. It is scrupulously researched, richly illustrated and highly entertaining - and readers will never watch a rabbit snatched from a hat in quite the same way again.' -Mandy Sayer, Weekend Australian

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