Introducting two very different yet complementary reads by Lesley Blanch.
Of Blanch’s biographies, The Sabres of Paradise: Conquest and Vengeance in the Caucasus was her favourite. Thorough research, a balanced approach and dramatic storytelling skills bring to life Imam Shamyl, the ‘Lion of Daghestan’, leader of the warring mountain tribes of Daghestan and Chechnya. From 1834-59 they fought to remain independent of Russia, strengthened only by the desire for an independent Caucasus and their religious faith. The Tzar took Shamyl’s eldest son as a hostage to St Petersburg. Shamyl captured two Georgian princesses (from the Tzarina’s entourage), a French governess and the children, and kept them in his harem until they could be exchanged for his son.
Lesley Blanch’s epic account of the heroic and bloody struggles is particularly relevant in light of the continuing conflict in Chechnya. Time has had to pass before the relevance of the book can be fully understood.
HISTORICAL BIOGRAPHY | 488pp £10.43 | Mobi ISBN 978-0-9930927-1-8 | Print ISBN 978-0-9930927-2-5 | book info
Lesley Blanch: always interesting, always flirtatiously alive, always passionate – Barnaby Rogerson, Country Life
The Nine Tiger Man is Downton Abbey with a Bollywood twist . . . In this witty satirical romance dedicated to her friend Nancy Mitford, Lesley Blanch recreates the British India of the 1850’s where representatives of Victoria’s England preside uneasily over the glittering remnants of the Moghul Empire. A gifted East Indian Prince takes his own form of revenge against the entire English Empire by inducting a bevy of highborn English females into the fine points of Oriental eroticism, proving that Debrett’s Peerage is no match for the Karma Sutra.
FICTION | VICTORIAN ROMANCE | 160pp £3.99 | Mobi ISBN 978-0-9930927-3-2 | Print ISBN 978-0-9930927-4-9 | book info
Lesley Blanch (1904-2007) is renowned for her bestselling book The Wilder Shores of Love. Her other works include Journey into the Mind’s Eye, Round the World in Eighty Dishes, Pavilions of the Heart and Pierre Loti: Portrait of an Escapist. Her posthumous memoirs On the Wilder Shores of Love: A Bohemian Life are published by Virago. The sequel Far To Go and Many To Love: People and Places is published by Quartet Books. She was ahead of her time, and prescient in the way she attempted to bridge West and East. Marianne Faithfull and Shirley Conran; the late Jackie Kennedy and Anaïs Nin, were inspired by her.
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