Long back I read Grigory Rasputin’s story in a Tamil magazine called Gokulam. It narrates the entire story of Rasputin -his arrival to the Tzar’s palace to heal Alex, the prince from his illness and his subsequent rise and fall. Since then, I have wanted to read more, Kerwin Swint’s The King Whisperers brings the lot together.
What makes one a great puppet master? A superb understanding of human psychology, manipulation of the main weakness in the ruler and an unquenchable taste for more power. There are some who do not fall under this ambit, yet are great manipulators and decide the fate of their country by their selfless desire to do good-like Kamaraj of India. And we have Agrippo the younger, Himmeler, Cromwell, Cierco, Rove, Che Guera-each a treasure trove of interesting facts..
What a diversity of characters! Swint saves us the trouble by categorizing them into 10 titles-Fixers, King Makers, Rebels, Silver tongued devils, Generals, Schemers and the lot. He also adds interesting trivia which makes the book even more desirable-like Lawerence of Arabia who was actually the Indiana Jones even before Harrison Ford donned the cap and the whip, Cierco’s oratorical skills which failed to save him at the most needed hour, Che’s tactics, so on.
As we read about each of them, we only wonder at what they are capable. And what they accomplished.