The book will examine the influence of the West on Indian beliefs and culture and how its present self-image was conceived.
Penguin Random House (PRH) India has announced the acquisition of the book from David Godwin at David Godwin Associates Ltd, London. To be published in 2021 under the PRH's Allen Lane imprint, it will be released simultaneously by Penguin Random House UK.
PRH's non-fiction imprint, Allen Lane, is renowned for quality and originality of thought across subjects including history, science, politics, economics, philosophy, psychology, language and current affairs.
"I am thrilled to join the Penguin Random House India family, and expect this to be a long, fruitful relationship," Pillai said on the publication of the upcoming book, his fourth.
"After all, some of the greatest titles on Indian history, including many books, which energised my own interest in the subject years ago, were published by PRH, which makes this both a privilege as well as a moment of excitement.
"While my own efforts to pursue the highest standards in my writing will continue, they will, no doubt, benefit greatly from the editorial expertise at PRH, and together we will hopefully present books that not only make us proud, but also do justice to the fascinating world of Indian history," Pillai added.
Using a diverse range of sources from the latest secondary work to original archival material, the author will chronicle the lives of remarkable men and women who were instrumental in shaping what is today India's self-image and distinct modernity. The book will travel through 18th and 19th century Indian history, exploring everything from caste, religion and people from diverse backgrounds.
"Through these tales of figures and of the times in which they lived, Pillai extrapolates the manner in which the dynamics of the colonial age continue to affect India even today," the publisher said.
Pillai is the author of the critically acclaimed "The Ivory Throne: Chronicles of the House of Travancore" (2015) and "Rebel Sultans: The Deccan from Khilji to Shivaji (2018)". A winner of the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar, awarded by India's national academy of letters to writers under 40, he is also studying for a PhD at the India Institute at King's College, London.
His third book, a collection of essays on Indian history, titled "The Courtesan, the Mahatma and the Italian Brahmin", was published in June 2019.
( With inputs from IANS )