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  • Published: 25 February 2024
  • ISBN: 9781787304154
  • Imprint: Harvill Secker
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $49.99

Loot

An epic historical novel of plundered treasure and lasting love




An epic historical heist novel of plundered treasure, savage empire, lasting love and a young man's dream to make his mark on the world. From an Indian American writer at the height of her powers.

'Loot held me spellbound from the first page...an expertly-plotted, deeply affecting novel ' Maggie O’Farrell

An epic tale of plundered treasure, savage empire, lasting love and a young man's dream to make his mark on the world.

Meet Abbas. Woodcarver, toy maker, dreamer. Abbas is seventeen when he is whisked away to Tipu Sultan's glorious palace in Mysore. Apprenticed to the clockmaker Monsieur Du Leze, he is ordered to create an ingenious musical tiger to delight Tipu's sons.

In the eccentric Du Leze, Abbas finds an unexpected friend who encourages his skill and hunger for learning, and through whom he also meets the unforgettable Jehanne, who has questions and ambitions of her own.

But when British soldiers attack and loot Mysore, Abbas's world is turned upside down and his prized tiger is shipped off to a country estate in England. In order to carve out his place in the world, he must follow.

A hero's quest, a love story, an exuberant heist novel that traces the bloody legacy of colonialism across the world, Loot is a dazzling, wildly inventive and irresistible feat of storytelling from a writer at the height of her powers.

'A cinematic novel of empire, colonialism and romance...Through transporting prose, and with wit and charm, Loot asks who gets written out of history and why' Guardian

''Immersive and beautifully written...a clever and absorbing novel about empire and belonging’ Sunday Times

'A thrilling, absorbing and immersive tale of artistry, adventure and romance' Claire Fuller

'A wild, dazzling eighteenth-century romp across continents with profound things to say about invention and self-reinvention, class and fate, and the deeply human hunger to create family.' Lauren Groff

'Elegantly crafted and beautifully written... exciting... Highly recommended' Mail on Sunday

  • Published: 25 February 2024
  • ISBN: 9781787304154
  • Imprint: Harvill Secker
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $49.99

About the author

Tania James

Tania James's debut novel Atlas of Unknowns was a New York Times Editor's Choice and was shortlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian literature. She has also written the short story collection Aerogrammes, and her stories have appeared in the New Yorker, Granta, Freeman's: The Future of New Writing, One Story and A Public Space. The Tusk That Did the Damage was shortlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize. From 2011 to 2012, Tania James was a Fulbright fellow to India living in New Delhi. She now lives in Washington DC.

Also by Tania James

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Praise for Loot

A novel of wonder and terror and beauty - I was completely captivated by it.

Kamila Shamsie

Loot held me spellbound from the first page. This is an expertly-plotted, deeply affecting novel about war, displacement, emigration, and an elusive mechanical tiger.

Maggie O’Farrell

I read Loot in a single sitting; it is a wild, dazzling eighteenth-century romp across continents with profound things to say about invention and self-reinvention, class and fate, and the deeply human hunger to create family as both bulwark against loneliness and constant source of light and warmth.

Lauren Groff

Loot is the most transporting and absorbing novel I've read in ages-a rich tapestry of an epic, thrilling at every turn. This isn't just brilliant writing: It's storytelling of the highest order.

Rebecca Makkai

A luminous novel of history that explores the far reaches of empire and of human desire, of love, greed, betrayal, and possible redemption. In this genuine page-turner, Tania James does the seemingly impossible: not only does she breathe life into charismatic characters, she repeats the feat with automatons, for crying out loud. Tipu's Tiger might be a stolen artifact in a British museum, but you can hear its roar in these pages. Loot is a historical story that bristles with contemporary urgency.

Rabih Alameddine

Loot is lovingly drawn and compulsively readable, with all the pleasures and detail of stellar historical fiction

Vulture

Addictively absorbing

New York Times Book Review

James's ravishing prose and trademark blend of lyricism and suspense animate this ingenious caper meets politically acute coming-of-age story

Oprah Daily

Steeped in the rich history of three nations and infused with a young man's unshakable desire to do some­thing grand, Loot is transportive storytelling at its best . . . James' plot is brilliant and unique, her creative liberties mixing well with the historical realities of colonialism and migra­tion. Her supporting characters are woven with the same care and detail as her protagonist. All of this combines for a stimulating and informa­tive novel, a must-read for adventurers, dream­ers and lovers of history

BookPage [starred review]

A rich, sprawling, picaresque historical novel . . . James weaves a lustrous tale of intrigue and survival, cunning and romance

Booklist [starred review]

Spanning 50 years and two continents, this rich, compelling novel offers an unflinching look at the violence of imperialism

People Magazine

Strongly recommending this exquisitely crafted and rich historical story to everyone I know . . . Tania James has created such a visceral, powerful story that it felt like I was in a time travelling machine

Nikita Gill

A thrilling, absorbing and immersive tale of artistry, adventure and romance

Claire Fuller

A real-life object of fascination — an 18th-century automaton depicting a tiger biting into an Englishman’s neck — is the basis for this novel...lush with the sights, sounds and smells of India, France and England, and always laced with Dickensian wit

Washington Post, *Ten Best Books of the Year*

Richly researched and full of heart, LOOT is a beautifully crafted novel, artfully realised and deeply compelling. Abbas and Jehanne (and Rum!) are captivating characters who positively leap from the pages, and I felt bereft when their story came to an end. I just loved it.

Susan Stokes-Chapman, author of Pandora

Elegantly crafted and beautifully written, James’s exciting adventure story considers the legacy of colonial oppression and the ownership of plundering historical artifacts. Highly recommended

Mail on Sunday

[An] epic sweep of a novel, which travels from India to Europe in the company of a fascinating range of characters...Niftily constructed, the novel packs in doomed romance, the horrors of colonialism and palace plots

Daily Mail

Loot is a vivid and witty reimagining of an episode of history that continues to shape the present, and the ways we think about art, identity and ownership

Observer

Beautifully written… This is a clever and absorbing novel about empire and belonging

The Times

A cinematic love story, adventure story and heist story… Through transporting prose, and with wit and charm, Loot asks who gets written out of history and why

Guardian

Inventive and hugely enjoyable…while reminding us of the savagery of the imperial project

Times Literary Supplement