In the Heart of Darkness – Eric Flint & David Drake

Still trying to keep up with posting the books the Belisarius series.  The first book led Belisarius to India to rescue Princess Shakuntala to form the core of an Indian resistance to the evil Malwa empire, ruled by the time-travelling Link.  He is concealing her with his entourage, while her protector Raghunath Rao, led the pursuit away.  While he uses the time to learn about the Malwa’s futuristic gunpowder weapons, he makes the Malwa think he is ready to betray Rome.

Meanwhile his wife Antonia is building a secret army of grenadiers, using slings to throw the explosives.  She brings Theodora into the secret, for financing and because the Malwa have spies in Constantinople plotting a coup against Justinian.

But plans change, and when Link discovers that Belisarius is loyal to Rome everyone must flee India in a hurry – the Princess and her Kushan guards disguised as a noble family, carrying Malwa bribes to finance their insurrection, and his friends from Axum and his guards along the well prepared plan.  But him being alone in the middle of a river armed only with a pen-knife was never part of the plan!

After the escape, the Malwa send word for the coup to topple Justinian and kill Belisarius’ wife Antonia. Will Belisarius return in time to stop the Nika Insurrection in this timeline?

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