A spectacular tale that brings alive a turbulent period in India’s history through the eyes of a Portuguese priest. Adventures abound over land and sea as history is revealed through long-lost secret diaries. Meet Mughal princesses, visit exotic bazaars, and be captivated by a 17th-century travelogue in this thrilling historical fiction novella!
Targeted Age Group:: 18-80
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I am an artist, and while doing a series of ocean and ship paintings, I was inspired by the idea of world travel in bygone times. I researched the period in history and was hooked! Ideas and stories began to take shape and viola! The novella was born.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
My imagination tends to run riot and so this wasn't really difficult! My main protagonist is an idealist and a humane person who comes into conflict with the prevailing ideas of those times, and there is also a strong female character. I wanted to portray flesh and blood historical characters.
"Lisbon 15th May 1648
Diario do Padre Jose Santos Almeida.
A keen wind whips my cassock, drowning out the harsh cries of the seagulls as I stand on the stern of our vessel, the Santo Andre. The familiar red roofs, high castle walls, and green hills of my beloved Lisbon recede slowly from view and I am overcome with conflicting emotions.
On the one hand my heart is filled with exultation that I am chosen by the fates to spread the word of our Lord Jesus Christ. On the other, I feel a dread at the loss of my familiar world. The future looms full of uncertainties and dangers.
It is the year of our Lord 1648 and I am embarking on the long sea voyage to the Estado da India, my mission is to re-establish the Christian values that seem to have been diluted in the last 130 years of our colonization of that Pagan land, to bring the word of our Lord to the heathen and to bring back to the fold such persons of our faith as have strayed away because of the customs of the strange new lands.
I am determined to record my innermost thoughts in this journal. “
And I have goose pimples as I read this first-person account of a man I had been researching for a quarter of a century. The enigmatic Padre Jose Santos Almeida.
But let’s rewind.
The winter sunshine poured like warm treacle on my back as I relaxed on a Moodah that had become my best friend. Squirrels squabbled and scampered up the Neem trees which spread a wide canopy of shade in my garden overgrown with weeds.
I was savouring the pleasures of retirement, anticipating the languid days ahead. Maybe I’d browse through my vintage collection of L. P.s? Or plan that book compiling traditional Old Delhi Kayastha recipes? Pickle some crunchy winter vegetables? Anyway, anything but musty historical tomes. I was done with that.
Then Sister Inez called. The moment I heard her excited voice I knew that was the end of my post-retirement plans. Then we simultaneously said, “Let’s call Gigi!”
G.G. or Gigi was the third musketeer.
I met Sister Inez and Gigi at the 7th Indo-Portuguese History seminar in Goa in 1994. We bonded over the pork sorpotel at lunch. That epicurean first meeting led to a quarter of a century of academic collaborations. Which was the genesis of:
VOYAGES OF DISCOVERY: A HISTORY OF THE JESUITS IN THE ESTADO DA INDIA
Dr Pallavi Mathur Ph.D.
Professor and Head of Department, Department of History, Delhi University, India.
Sr. Inez Fonseca M.A, B.Ed.,
St Joseph’s college, Salcette, Goa, India
Member NCERT, Goa SCHE, UGC
Dr. Gabriela Goncalves Ph.D.
Department of History and Archives, University of Coimbra, Portugal.
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