James's Loot is one of the most engaging novels I’ve read in a long time. It centers on Tipu’s Tiger, an actual artifact that was taken from Mysore in Southern India after the British invaded and killed Sultan Tipu. James follows Abba, a 17-year-old woodcarver who is conscripted into service to help a French clock maker carve this figure of a life-sized tiger mauling a British man--a tiger that contains a working organ. As Abba's life is upended during the project, the story moves across the ocean to France. James's mix of facts and fiction makes for an amazing tale.