Nightrunners of Bengal Paperback
by John Masters
Part of the Story-Tellers S. series
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 368 pages, black & white illustrations
- Publisher: Souvenir Press Ltd
- Publication Date: 11/05/2000
- Category: Historical fiction
- ISBN: 9780285635524
Showing 1 - 1 of 1 reviews.
Review by FicusFan
Interesting look at the Indian Mutiny through the eyes of the Raj. The book starts in 1856, in the fictional cantonment of Bhowani in Bengal India. The POV is Rodney Savage. He is a Captain of the 13th Rifles, Bengal Native Infantry. He is the leader of the Indian Sepoys, who make up the rank and file. He has spent years with them, and has respect and affection for them, though he believes in British superiority. His world is destroyed when he has to face that these same men want to kill him, and do kill other British.Rodney muses on the narrow and repressed life they must lead as Victorians. He blames it on Albert, and longs for the easier (socially) days of his father and grandfather. The book also brings up one of the secrets of the Raj, that those of middle and lower class were accorded 'Upper Class' status (grudgingly) in India because they were British and white. That group of people never wanted to go home, where they would return to their former lower-order life. In India they had servants, large houses, power and prestige.The country is divided into different British zones, with some princely states (they are dependent on the British to survive). Savage visits the Rani of Kishanpur, after her husband is killed. He spends time in the princely state and interacts with Indians who are technically their own masters. This book is 3rd book (Story Order) in the <b> Savage Family </b> series. The majority of the book looks at life in the cantonment, how the various Brits interact with each other and with the Indians all around them as soldiers and servants. There are British men, women and children, a whole mini social structure. Masters shows how they are beset by the little things, and miss or don't care about the important things. He also explores how the East India Company (which ran India), with remote businessmen make decisions that drive the Sepoys and their officers apart. About 2/3 of the way through the mutiny happens and the pace picks up. There is very little of the aftermath in the book.I thought the writing was a bit stiff, not sure if Masters was trying to be Victorian, or if it is because it is the first book in the series published.