¾ Read ¶ The Mutiny by Julian Rathbone ¶ bricksnboho.co.uk

¾ Read ¶ The Mutiny by Julian Rathbone ¶ The Mutiny by Julian Rathbone is about 460 pages and the Indian Rebellion of 1857 Both of those things make me happy For me chubby books are cheesecake level temptation and stories set in India are always to be scooped up The British Army enlisted thousands of Indians as soldiers or sepoys as the Europeans called them and was reliant on these soldiers to help govern the huge country If the civilian colonists thought about the natives at all it was as master and servant and not in a pretty Masterpiece Theater way By 1857 this dynamic had been business as usual for decades Add to this oppression, unfair taxes on Indians, the attitudes of the authorities concerning the religions of India, racism and the British owned East India Company s habit of annexing land from independent Rajas when the company wanted it.
From the moment his recreation of the Rebellion begins Rathbone makes the most of the historical, political, racial, religious and cultural elements available to him to construct an epic He doesn t populate the story with the usual historical walk ons nor does he stray from the actual timeline of the major events of the Rebellion but within these parameters Rathbone has plenty of room to develop plotlines and characters that are good, bad and human As the stories expand and intertwine Rathbone successfully balances our sympathy and outrage within this ambitious novel.
The Mutiny is old fashioned storytelling but that doesn t mean that the story is old fashioned In this novel the view is broad, the action is intimate and the writing is elegant.
For Its British Population, The India That Swelters In The Late Spring Of Is A Place Of Amateur Theatricals, Horseracing And Flirtations Under The Aegis Of The Omnipotent East India Company But A Brutal Awakening Lies In Store For The Complacent British One May Night, After Thirty Years Of Abuse, The East India Company S Native Soldiers Rise Up Against Their British Officers Thus Begins The Most Savage Episode In Our Imperial History Caught Up In The Violence Is Pretty Sophie Hardcastle, A Young Wife And Mother Newly Arrived From England As She Searches For Her Infant Son, Missing In The Chaos, Sophie Finds Herself Bearing Witness To Atrocities On Both SidesMoving, Sombre And Thrilling, Rathbone S Tale Is Told On A Grand Scale, Ranging From The Cannings In Government House To The Heroism Of The Humblest Soldiers And Peasants It Is As Exhilarating As Any Victorian Adventure Story, And Yet, With Its Unflinching Examination Of Religious Fanaticism And The Horrors Of War, The Mutiny Also Carries A Powerful Message For The Modern World This is, let s get it straight right at the start, an interesting read but it has a flaw It starts off as a work of fiction the Indian Mutiny as experienced by a group of English women living on the Army base at Meerut We experience life as they saw it, hot, dusty, petty, and interfacing with a culture that is seen as dirty and contemptible We see the hatred grow, often fanned by ambitious, powerless former rulers who simply want either a very comfortable lifestyle provided by the British, or change Religious hatred and intolerance go hand in hand with contempt for those of another race, white or brown The Mutiny, when it comes, is bloody as scores are settled and betrayal runs hand in hand with murder A reaction and brutal revenge is on the cards The latter half of the book seems to lose its direction and, rather than continuing to be a tale about struggle and survival, becomes an historical account of how the British regained India It s interesting if not a little episodic in parts Rathbone links in one or two references to his heroines of earlier but they play a very incidental role The book, in short, loses its sense of direction it metamorphoses from one kind of creature into another and not necessarily for the best As a byword, I liked Rathbone s brief summary where he reminds us that the India before the coming of the Europeans was a mixture of petty kingdoms each locked in petty wars and in suppressing their peoples After The Mutiny, when the British take over properly rather than leaving it to the Company to sort things out , things actually get a lot better and the seeds for a free and independent democracy are sown These nasty Imperialists weren t as nasty as we re told Virtually all the taxes raised in India went back to building a better country interesting.
The Mutiny by Julian Rathbone is about 460 pages and the Indian Rebellion of 1857 Both of those things make me happy For me chubby books are cheesecake level temptation and stories set in India are always to be scooped up The British Army enlisted thousands of Indians as soldiers or sepoys as the Europeans called them and was reliant on these soldiers to help govern the huge country If the civilian colonists thought about the natives at all it was as master and servant and not in a pretty Masterpiece Theater way By 1857 this dynamic had been business as usual for decades Add to this oppression, unfair taxes on Indians, the attitudes of the authorities concerning the religions of India, racism and the British owned East India Company s habit of annexing land from independent Rajas when the company wanted it.
From the moment his recreation of the Rebellion begins Rathbone makes the most of the historical, political, racial, religious and cultural elements available to him to construct an epic He doesn t populate the story with the usual historical walk ons nor does he stray from the actual timeline of the major events of the Rebellion but within these parameters Rathbone has plenty of room to develop plotlines and characters that are good, bad and human As the stories expand and intertwine Rathbone successfully balances our sympathy and outrage within this ambitious novel.
The Mutiny is old fashioned storytelling but that doesn t mean that the story is old fashioned In this novel the view is broad, the action is intimate and the writing is elegant.
This one was tough to stomach at points.
This one was tough to stomach at points.
Dozens of characters, both Indian and European, are followed through the period from 1854 culminating in the critical years of 1857 58 during the Indian Mutiny If anyone is central it is Sophie Hardcastle, a young Army Officer s wife, but the landscape, military figures and the savage fighting and atrocities of both sides, up to the climactic siege of Delhi, are the real core The even handed authorial voice often provides the historical context, in a riveting and moving read managing to personalise the brutal conflict.
The 1857 rebellion a.
k.
a the first Indian war of Independence is a point of interest to me and it is fascinating to read about the different people with a different agendas were able to come together for a cause albeit their selfish motives.
So it was with a lot of interest that I picked up this one to read of the rebellion from the perspective of the British people who lived through it However, I should say the book for all its promises delivered very little.
For some odd reason, the author insists in the prologue and in the Epilogue that the British did a lot of good things like they sent only about 1% of the tax revenues back to UK in India and also insisting that it was not a war of Independence I was not sure how that related to the story other than showing a glimpse of the author s political leanings.
The answer, as some one from the country where the British did so much good is that, the last famine in India was in 1942 in Bengal and since 1947, after independence, the country never had a famine And I think while the railways and telegraph were good, it was only developed as a means of moving military transport and any civilian comfort from that was just accidental and I do not want to start on the number of native industries that paid the price to keep Manchester and Birmingham in the middle of the industrial world While I don t want to be spoiler of the good imperialist philosophy, I cannot let it go unanswered as well.
Now, back to the book, while it documents the historical incidents accurately, the story just limps along the unfolding of the events Sophie, Lavanya, Bruce and almost every fictional character wanders all along the Gangetic plains without any purpose other than be at the next battle or siege That is sad as the initial chapters of the book on the Meerut barracks were well written.
However, the author in his zeal towards the history keeps losing his characters and by extension us, the readers as well It could ve been an excellent spy story with Bruce in the middle or a tragic love story with Sophie and Bruce as the drivers or it could ve been a historical rendering of events It ends up us nothing That is a pity.
It is still an interesting book overall if you can forgive the plot holes and focus on the history.
Found this disappointingly dull after enjoying Recommended by Wiki A Rathbone fan certainly wrote his Wiki, but it s interesting.
A good drama, although it could have done with character development on the Indian side, and without the odd attempt to rehabilitate the British empire in just two paragraphs in the postscript.