The Flight of the Swans is a rich and fascinating family saga set in British India and Malaya. Cursed, and with blood on his hands, Captain Ramdas Rao Bhonsle is forced to flee Killa Fort, which has fallen to the British. A strange flight of swans signals his flight from Killa; a flight that will drive Ramdas and his family into further adversity. But great adversity spawns great dreams. Ramdas dreams of ousting the British from his motherland. His sons, the handsome and irascible Nilkanth and the plain and romantic Madhav dream of possessing the same girl, Tara Bai, who is the most beautiful courtesan in the land. And Ramdas’ granddaughter, blind Arundhati, dreams only of seeing one day. Woven into this tapestry is a lone white swan inextricably linked to the ebb and flow of the Bhonsles’ fortunes as they flee across India to Malaya.
At once magical, poignant and exotic, Devika Bai’s debut novel mesmerises as it unravels the love, loyalty and courage of the Bhonsles. The saga unfolds against the backdrop of war, famine, family conflict and social injustice, and hurtles towards its inevitable end in a masterful blend of history and fiction.
About the author
D. Devika Bai is a retired school administrator of Malaysian Indian descent. Her short stories and articles have been published in print in Singapore and Malaysia, and online in several North American e-publications. She is the great-granddaughter of one of the earliest Tanjore Maratha immigrants to British Malaya.