The Raj Quartet - Vol 1
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On occasions unsparing in its study of personal dramas and racial differences, the Raj Quartet is at all times profoundly humane, not least in the author's capacity to identify with a huge range of characters. It is also illuminated by delicate social comedy and wonderful evocations of the Indian scene, all narrated in luminous prose.
Volume 1 contains The Jewel in the Crown and The day of the Scorpion. Jewel in the Crown ~ India 1942: everything is in flux. World War II has shown that the British are not invincible and the self-rule lobby is gaining many supporters. Against this background, Daphne Manners, a young English girl, is brutally raped in the Bibighat Gardens. The racism, brutality and hatred launched upon the head of her young Indian lover echo the dreadful violence perpetrated on Daphne and reveal the desperate state of Anglo-Indian relations. The rift that will eventually prise India - the jewel in the Imperial Crown - from colonial rule is beginning to gape wide. The Day of a Scorpion ~ This is book two of "The Raj Quartet". India, August 9th 1942: the morning brings raids and the arrest by British police of Congress Party members. Amongst the prisoners is the distinguished ex-Chief Minister Mohammed Ali Kasim. Loyal to the party's central vision of a unified free India, his incarceration is a symptom of the growing deterioration of Anglo-Indian relations. For the long-serving British family, the Laytons, the political and social ramifications are immediate, disturbing and tragic. Some, like Ronald Merrick, believe that true intimacy between the races is impossible; others, such as Sarah Layton, struggle to come to terms with their Anglo-Indian past. With growing confusion and bewilderment, the British are forced to confront the violent and often brutal years that lie ahead of them.