In 1857, when the English attempted to introduce the Enfield rifle -- utilizing cartridges made from cow fat and lard -- the native troops (or sepoys) rebelled, fearing a plot to convert them to Christianity. They surrounded the Lucknow Residency and held it (and its population of men, women, children and loyal native troops) in a state of siege for 140 days. Edwards, an authority on India, relying on original diaries and documents, writes of this ordeal as if you are there, detailing the daily life and hardships -- disease, food shortages, bad weather -- of the garrison waiting for relief. Once Edwards has decided what tense to use (he starts in the present but soon changes to the past) his narrative is arresting, although the less frequently used names get lost without an index. More adventure story than political analysis (no evaluation of the historical context, imperialist or otherwise), but an attractive book, with strategic maps and period illustrations.