The King’s Shadow
James Lewis knew there were consequences for desertion, including execution. However, life in the army of the East India Company held little appeal. He walked off as James Lewis and re-emerged as Charles Masson. Masson struggled to make his way eastward, being robbed of money and clothing, among other hardships. On the verge of death, he is saved by the random kindness of strangers. At full strength, Masson is capable of disguising his identity, posing as a healer or as an intrepid explorer. Once in Afghanistan, he is determined to excavate the lost city that belonged to the empire of Alexander the Great. Masson unearths tantalizing tidbits here and there, but nothing definitive. His reputation precedes him, and shortly thereafter, he is under the thumb of men with more sinister motives.
The King’s Shadow shines as a real-life action-adventure saga where the subject is a man without a country. His successes are not nearly as long as his troubles, and Lewis’ motives can easily be second-guessed. Edmund Richardson has written a beguiling biography of the cryptic individual born James Lewis but remembered as Charles Masson. An incisive biography with a view toward the global-political struggle looming in the century ahead.
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