When Dhondu Pant Nana Saheb, the adopted son of exiled Maratha Peshwa Bajirao II, is denied rights as the Peshwa's heir by the British after his father's death, he makes an appeal to reclaim his title, only to be rebuffed again.
Then, as a mutiny breaks out in Kanpur in 1857 and Nana Saheb emerges as its leader, he is labelled by the British as a villainous monster, a barbarous butcher and the criminal leader of the 'Sepoy Mutiny', which sweeps across India from 1856 to 1859. Yet, to a nation in turmoil, he becomes a hero who stands up to the colonial oppression and emerges as a forerunner to the leaders who bring freedom to the nation less than a century later.
In The Devil's Wind, Nana Saheb's story-a significant, turbulent and intrigue-filled chapter in India's history-is skilfully brought to life by master storyteller Manohar Malgonkar in vivid, inventive detail.
'Was Nana Saheb one of the leaders of the 1857 uprising? A monster who killed English women and children? Or was he a patriot? In The Devil's Wind, Manohar Malgonkar tries to find an answer, giving us at the same time, in Nana Saheb's own words, a fascinating picture of those tumultuous times, of confused loyalties and cruel betrayals. In Malgonkar, a new generation of readers will find a rare and skilled writer of historical fiction.' -Shashi Deshpande
'The Devil's Wind is a fascinating novel about the life and times of Nana Saheb. Imaginative and inventive, yet never losing sight of authenticity, taking in the vast turbulent sweep of history, and yet intimate, as a chamber play. Now printed fifty years after its first publication, this rediscovered classic gleams like one of Nana Saheb's own lost gems.' -Avik Chanda
'The Devil's Wind and J.G. Farrell's The Siege of Krishnapur are two of the finest pieces of fiction set in the context of the uprising of 1857. Using the revolt as a backdrop, Malgonkar weaves a poignant love story and makes it almost credible. It remains a powerful evocation of those tumultuous times.' -Rudrangshu Mukherjee
'Nana-Saheb, one of the leaders of the Indian Mutiny of 1857, gets a chance to tell his own story in a historical novel.' - The New York Times (1972)