In this fascinating account of one of the least known parts of South Asia, Eaton recounts the history of the Deccan plateau in southern India from the fourteenth century to the rise of European colonialism. He does so, vividly, through the lives of eight Indians who lived at different times during this period, and who each represented something particular about the Deccan. In the first chapter, for example, the author describes the demise of the regional kingdom through the life of a maharaja. In the second, a Sufi sheikh illustrates Muslim piety and state authority. Other characters include a merchant, a general, a slave, a poet, a bandit and a female pawnbroker. Their stories are woven together into a rich narrative tapestry, which illumines the most important social processes of the Deccan across four centuries. This is a much-needed book by the most highly regarded scholar in the field.