BOOK REVIEW: Fortune’s Soldier, Alex Rutherford.

Language: English
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Hachette India (3 December 2018)


It is 1744, and Nicholas Ballantyne, a young Scotsman dreaming of a life as laird of his ancestral estate finds himself quite unexpectedly on the Winchester, a ship bound for Hindustan, seeking to begin a new life as a ‘writer’ on the rolls of the British East India Company. On board, he meets the spirited and mercurial Robert Clive, determined – at whatever cost – to make a fortune in a land of opportunity.

Over the years that follow, their friendship sees many twists and turns as Clive’s restless hunger for wealth and power takes him from being a clerk to a commander in the Company’s forces, masterminding plans to snuff out rival French interests in Hindustan and eventually leading the company forces to victory at Plassey, the prelude to nearly two centuries of foreign rule in Hindustan.

Brilliantly crafted, and bringing to life the momentous events that shook India in the mid-eighteenth century, Fortune’s Soldier is an epic tale of a fascinating era by a master storyteller.


Fortune’s soldier is the story of Nicholas Ballantyne, a young Scotsman, who one day hopes to be the heir of his ancestral estate. His life seemed simple and planned until one day he finds himself on the Winchester, a ship bound for Hindustan. There he meets Robert Clive, a man with dogged determination, who plans to make a fortune in Hindustan. There begins a beautiful friendship that we follow through the next couple of years. The book is their journey and the events that change their role and rank in the British East India Company’s forces.

The book is packed with events like war between the England and France, French interest in Hindustan, the role of Nawabs in Hindustan in all these events, etc. The strongest point is the characterization. I really enjoyed Nicholas’s and Tuhin Singh’s character. There are so many layers to each character and a book with strong characters is always a hit for me. But the downside is that the story is not as eventful as their lives. It rather felt like a first hand account of the events.

If you love historical fiction, I would recommend it. It definitely sheds light on a lot of lesser known historical events.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐.75

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** I received a copy of the book from Hachette India in exchange for an honest and unbiased review**

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