The magnificent epic new novel - Rushdie's finest for years.
Los Angeles, 1991. Ambassador Maximilian Ophuls, one of the makers of the modern world, is murdered in broad daylight on his illegitimate daughter India's doorstep, slaughtered by a knife wielded by his Kashmiri Muslim driver, a mysterious figure who calls himself Shalimar the clown. The dead man is a World War II Resistance hero, a man of formidable intellectual ability and much erotic appeal, a former US ambassador to India and subsequently America's counter-terrorism chief. The murder looks at first like a political assassination, but turns out to be passionately personal.
This is the story of Max, his killer, and his daughter - and of a fourth character, the woman who links them, whose story finally explains them all. It is an epic narrative that moves from California to Kashmir, France and England, and back to California again. Along the way there are tales of princesses lured from their homes by demons, legends of kings forced to defend their kingdoms against evil. There is kindness and magic, capable of producing miracles, but there is also war, ugly, unavoidable, and seemingly interminable. And there is always love, gained and lost, uncommonly beautiful and mortally dangerous. Everything is unsettled. Everything is connected. Lives are uprooted, names keep changing - nothing is permanent. The story of anywhere is also the story of everywhere else. Spanning the globe and darting through history, Rushdie's narrative captures the heart of the reader and the spirit of a troubled age.