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Extended Audio Sample The Splendor of Silence Audiobook, by Indu Sundaresan Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (748 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Indu Sundaresan Narrator: Sneha Mathan Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2011 ISBN: 9781455184996
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From internationally bestselling author Indu Sundaresan comes a heartrending tale of tragic love and clashing cultures in World War II India.

In 1942, Sam Hawthorne, a young US Army captain, arrives in a tiny princely state in western India. He carries combat wounds and several secrets, one of which is the real reason behind his visit: to find his brother Mike, an idealistic American soldier who disappeared after joining the local struggle for independence from the British. But Sam’s mission is soon threatened when he falls in love with Mila, daughter of the local political agent.

Betrothed to the local prince, Mila draws Sam into a doomed affair that places them both in the path of dynastic intrigue, racial prejudice, and the explosive circumstances of a country torn between imperialism and nationalism.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “There’s no question that Sundaresan is a gifted storyteller with an obvious passion for history.”

    USA Today

  • “Sundaresan unfolds her bittersweet story in flashbacks that are full of sharply drawn details and adroit dialogue. It’s a riveting read.”

    Seattle Times

  • “The reader is drawn into the political unrest of the anti-British movement and confronted by the bitter racial prejudices in India at this time. Story narrator Sneha Methan provides just the right dialect to distinguish each character…The captivating story presents…a narrative propelled by mystery and suspense that is sure to interest both teens and adults.”

    Kliatt

  • “Sundaresan renders Rudrakot vividly and the sympathetic (if doomed) characters generate enough friction to keep the pot boiling.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Sundaresan writes in the great tradition of the Indian epic, an art she carries forward with grace and brilliance.”

    Library Journal

  • “Sundaresan’s descriptive writing style makes for a colorful, engrossing read, and while the story does hop between time periods and locations, the reader is never lost along the way. Similar in story line to Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook, this book is recommended for all libraries.”

    Library Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Teresa | 2/17/2014

    " Really did like this book, I am on my next one about India we shall see "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Virginia | 2/17/2014

    " I am not usually that fond of novels unless they are tied more closely to real events than this one. Further, the author makes strange word choices. I didn't realize until the end that there is a glossary of terms...would have been nice to know that when hit with all the unfamiliar Indian words. I almost put it aside but then did get caught up in the story and it was good enough entertainment. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shaunie | 2/13/2014

    " A love story of an American soldier who falls in love with an Indian girl. The story is a little slow and I felt that it failed to really climax. The author tends to gloss over characters' emotions. The descriptions, however, are captivating. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ania | 2/8/2014

    " I could never really get into this book. I have read a few other books by this author, and her style of writing this book was so different. Something about it didn't really flow well. The story was just ok. I wouldn't recommend it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jenn | 1/27/2014

    " An awful awful combination of a romance novel and historical novel. The author obviously knows a lot about India and the British occupation etc,etc. And the male and female protagonists are these heinous spineless people. The American soldier who is in India looking for his long lost brother who is a POW. And the Indian teenager who's father is a government official. They never even talk and the entire book is fraught with sexual tension that doesn't exist and doesn't even culminate in a hot sex scene. The only reason I gave it two stars is because it's like over 300 pages and for some reason I was interested enough in the characters lives to finish it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marianne | 1/7/2014

    " a good read. The language can get a bit too flowery and some plot twists seem unlikely but the characters are compelling and the descriptions carry you to another place and time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Blythe | 1/5/2014

    " I enjoyed the storyline and how the author jumped from the main character's time in Burma to the present in Rudrakot. At first I was very confused by the voice behind the letter written to Olivia but was pleasantly suprised in the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 12/26/2013

    " What a great storyteller. I was drawn in almost from the beginning and the ending so neatly (but not tritely) pulled everything together. I do hope she writes a sequel, as she mentions in the author interview. Now I'm going to get The Twentieth Wife... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shahzia | 12/21/2013

    " A love story taking place during World War II in British India "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jordyn | 12/17/2013

    " I looove this book! It's epic, romantic, and heart breaking. Set in British colonized India in the early 20th century an Indian woman and an American soldier fall in love amidst racism and political turmoil. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Camea | 12/2/2013

    " It was really not very satisfying. I was left dissapointed that more didn't happen. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mina | 11/27/2013

    " Wow, captured my interest through the end, intriguing epic story, has everything. Not really about WWII but written during that time, great story and weaving cultures together. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amber | 11/25/2013

    " I really loved this book, it bounced around a lot which I found very refreshing and kept me very entertained. I have read so many books about the British Raj and this one kept my passions going! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ellie Revert | 11/6/2013

    " I love to learn from historical fiction. And this book gives so much history! I want to give this book to Emily-who is 15--but there's a bit more sex than would allow it. Maybe I'll give it to Annette, and let her worry about when to let her daughter read it! A great way out....... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ronita | 11/4/2013

    " I really enjoyed this book (my fourth by this author after the Twentieth Wife trilogy), but be warned...the ending is heartbreaking! I was literally sobbing...in the bathroom, so my husband and kids didn't think I was mad! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robin | 9/18/2013

    " Fantastic novel. Beautiful story, culturally wise. Wish the cover didn't use the "exotic veiled woman" motif. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jacqueline | 9/4/2013

    " By far my favorite read last year. The characters were developed well and the description of India was realisticaly romantic. The story is set in India during the decline of British rule. This love story is mixed well with historic events beginning in the 1940s. I've never read 400 pages so fast! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cindy | 7/10/2013

    " Not as good as her others "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 5/17/2013

    " Star-crossed love at it's best. fantastic! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christine | 4/4/2013

    " Took me a while to get into the story, then couldn't put it down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beth | 4/3/2013

    " I really like this author a lot and have read her 2 other books. I went through this book really quickly. My only complaint is that it ends kind of abruptly...it definitely needs a sequel. The author hints at one at the end so I'll be on the lookout! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marlasg Griffith | 3/18/2013

    " more india stuff. like the author though "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jill | 3/6/2013

    " Love story set amid the complexity that defined the relationships between the Indians, British and Americans during the British Raj. Lovely and tragic (somehow I'm drawn to many stories that can be described this way). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melanie | 12/28/2012

    " A few days in the lives of several people in India during World War II and the beginning of the end of the British colonization of India. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Medina | 12/3/2012

    " The best book I've ever read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carlina | 6/6/2012

    " I really liked this book. It was fascinating to learn about the ural and historical events of india. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carol | 4/21/2012

    " Boring in parts, tedious in others and disgusting in a few places. Didn't really enjoy it but I made it through the whole thing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joanne B | 11/4/2011

    " really enjoyed this one. It was kind of a mystery....many stories woven together. Loved the setting. A good fun read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alka S | 11/2/2011

    " beautiful story telling...based in India of 1942, it weaves the situations in mesmerising detail..the characters are well thought out and blessedly there are no villains." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pooja T | 7/20/2011

    " I really loved this book, read it ages ago and had thoroughly enjoyed the story and the setting. Really must re-read this soon :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 7/13/2011

    " Excellent writing and I learned much about India's culture.....fun to know the author lives in Bellevue, WA. A great book! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bill | 3/15/2011

    " Great read!!
    A young American woman opens a trunk from India that reveals the story of her parents. The WW2 India-Burma theater, British Raj, and racial segregation provide the backdrop for four days in May 1942. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chelsea | 2/14/2011

    " The first half was a bit slow and uneventful, but it picked up. An alright story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kris | 12/9/2010

    " Not as good as "The Twentith Wife" "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marianne | 11/21/2010

    " a good read. The language can get a bit too flowery and some plot twists seem unlikely but the characters are compelling and the descriptions carry you to another place and time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate | 9/29/2010

    " I read this book for a book club and loved it. There were so many story lines that were weaved together it kept my attention from the first page. Sundaresan is a great writer who took you back in time to another world. I hope there is a sequel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elaine | 4/10/2010

    " I loved this book--Sundaresan described India the way Amy Tan talks about China. You feel like you're there. And this was a beautiful story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ellie | 1/13/2010

    " I love to learn from historical fiction. And this book gives so much history! I want to give this book to Emily-who is 15--but there's a bit more sex than would allow it. Maybe I'll give it to Annette, and let her worry about when to let her daughter read it! A great way out....... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Marcela | 11/11/2009

    " Quite a disappointing book after her other two books. Very disjointed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marie | 9/16/2009

    " Very interesting to read about India during the time when Britain occupied it and Japan was at was with them. The food the culture the scenery. Sounded stunning. Very well written and most of all a beatiful love story. "

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About the Author
Author Indu Sundaresan

Indu Sundaresan was born in India to a long line of storytellers. After an undergraduate degree in economics, she came to the United States for graduate school at the University of Delaware, where her passion for writing soon took over. Her first novel, The Twentieth Wife, was awarded the 2003 Washington State Book Award.

About the Narrator

Sneha Mathan spent a peripatetic childhood in India, punctuated by a short spell in the Seychelles. Now fixedly based in Seattle, she works as a voice actor and audiobook narrator. Her audiobook work has received several Earphones Awards, and she is a two-time finalist for the Audie Award.