Twitter Logo
Instagram Logo
LinkedIn Logo

Loot: A novel (Hardcover)

Pre-Order Now Badge
Loot: A novel By Tania James Cover Image
Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now

Staff Reviews

I love this book. It is just so beautiful. It is unique, entertaining, smart and thoughtful. A talented young man in 18th century India is recruited to help craft a tiger automaton for the Sultan. What follows plays out across decades, continents and even at sea, a grand and ambitious stage that James somehow meaningfully compacts into less than 300 compulsively readable pages, gloriously illustrating the inanities and cruelties of colonialism, prejudice and globalization while still celebrating the invaluable outcomes of societal and personal collaboration such as art and science, or love and life. Loot vibrates with the same indomitable spirit and creativity of its main character, Abbas, and delivers a novel that is easily as spectacular as his tiger.

— Sara, Atlanta


A spellbinding historical novel set in eighteenth-century India, England, and France, about a young man’s dream of leaving a mark on the world

Abbas is just seventeen years old when his gifts as a woodcarver come to the attention of Tipu Sultan, and he is drawn into service at the palace in order to build a giant tiger automaton for Tipu’s sons, a gift to commemorate their return from British captivity. His fate—and the fate of the wooden tiger he helps create—will mirror the vicissitudes of nations and dynasties ravaged by war across India and Europe.

Working alongside the legendary French clockmaker Lucien du Leze, Abbas hones his craft, learns French, and meets Jehanne, the daughter of a French expatriate.  When Du Leze is finally permitted to return home to Rouen, he invites Abbas to come along as his apprentice. But by the time Abbas travels to Europe, Tipu’s palace has been looted by British forces, and the tiger automaton has disappeared. To prove himself, Abbas must retrieve the tiger from an estate in the English countryside, where it is displayed in a collection of plundered art.

A hero’s quest, a love story, the story of a young artist coming of age, and an exuberant heist novel that traces the bloody legacy of colonialism across two continents and fifty years, Loot is a dazzling, wildly inventive, and irresistible feat of storytelling from a writer at the height of her powers.

About the Author

TANIA JAMES is the author of the novels The Tusk That Did the Damage and Atlas of Unknowns and the short story collection Aerogrammes. Her fiction has appeared in Boston Review, Granta, Guernica, One Story, A Public Space, and The Kenyon Review. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Praise For…

"I read Loot in a single sitting; it is a wild, dazzling eighteenth-century romp across continents with profound things to say about invention and self-reinvention, class and fate, and the deeply human hunger to create family as both bulwark against loneliness and constant source of light and warmth.” —Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies

"Loot held me spellbound from the first page. This is an expertly-plotted, deeply affecting novel about war, displacement, emigration, and an elusive mechanical tiger.” —Maggie O’Farrell, author of Hamnet

"Loot is a feast—a hugely fun novel with a delicious plot that offers delights and profundities in equal measure. Each chapter of this sprint across the world serves stunning truths about circumstance and ambition, love and sacrifice, and the fickleness of victory. I devoured this book, and remain in awe of what Tania James has created." —Megha Majumdar, author of A Burning

"A novel of wonder and terror and beauty — I was completely captivated by it.” —Kamila Shamsie, author of Home Fire

"Loot is the most transporting and absorbing novel I've read in ages—a rich tapestry of an epic, thrilling at every turn. This isn't just brilliant writing: It's storytelling of the highest order." —Rebecca Makkai, author of The Great Believers

“A luminous novel of history that explores the far reaches of empire and of human desire, of love, greed, betrayal, and possible redemption. In this genuine page-turner, Tania James does the seemingly impossible: not only does she breathe life into charismatic characters, she repeats the feat with automatons, for crying out loud. Tipu’s Tiger might be a stolen artifact in a British museum, but you can hear its roar in these pages. Loot is a historical story that bristles with contemporary urgency.” —Rabih Alameddine, author of An Unnecessary Woman

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593535974
ISBN-10: 0593535979
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: June 13th, 2023
Pages: 304
Language: English