The Jewel in the Crown, Paperback Book

The Jewel in the Crown Paperback

4.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)


BOOK ONE OF THE RAJ QUARTETIndia 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.


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Review by

First published in 1966, The Jewel in the Crown by Paul Scott explores powerful themes of racism, class and colonialism in the complex environment of 1942 India. The British Empire is struggling with the war and in holding India under their control. The Japanese have defeated them in Burma, and here in India, Gandhi seeks non-violent non-cooperation in his “Quit India” campaign. The author paints a vivid picture of suspects being interrogated, idealists silenced and dissenters tracked down. The story captures certain events about people caught in these turbulent times, as a handful of characters react to a vicious attack on an Englishwoman. Miss Daphne Manners was the victim of rape. The event remains shrouded in mystery as the victim does not seem very interested in identifying her tormentors. Of course she has her own personal reason for remaining silent. The story unfolds from various angles, from character to character, from first person to third person, with letters, diaries and interviews all being included. I found this a fascinating look at an intricate period in time as it explores not only the described chain of events but also the political and social views of the many characters. At times overwhelming but always interesting and educational, I found I had to concentrate intently on the material in order to keep things straight in my mind. The author writes beautifully, but often the length of his sentences made the reading difficult. This is the first book in the Raj Quartet and I found it to be colourful, layered and intense.

Review by

It took a while to get through, but what an amazing and detailed portrayal of life in India in the days of the Raj!

Review by

The opening of the book plunges you into the atmosphere of India and the start of an epic journey through the dying days of India under British rule. Tension is already mounting in the country with increasing support for Ghandi and his supporters against the establishment. When Daphne Manners, a young English girl, begins a well-meaning but niaive, relationship with an Indian boy Hari Kumar, the status quo is further disrupted. But no-one in the town of Mayapore could have predicted the disastrous consequences that follow. On a dark monsoon night amid an outbreak of anti-British rioting, Daphne is raped by a gang of Indian men. It's a complex story of love across the cultural divide and of jealousy that seeks its revenge through physical and mental torture.

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