THE SCARLET SWORD by H. E. Bates

THE SCARLET SWORD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Reminiscent of The Jacaranda Tree this is again a story of English colonials undergoing a hopeless, horrifying experience when an English mission in Kashmir is caught in a tribal war. And also again, there is the particular quality of this country, its majesty, its monotony, its ""enchanting distances always resolving into ugly realities"", its isolation which is now broken by unsuspected violence. Only vaguely individuated are the few men and women at the Mission; Father Simpson, gentle, anxious, politically purblind; ex-Intelligence Colonel Mathieson and his wife; war correspondent Crane and Julie whom he loves; Greta Baretta, an Anglo-Indian doctor. For them all is the exposure to rape and torture in a sequence of terror in which the Colonel loses his wife- and his mind, Julie loses her mother and is herself wounded, Greta's husband is killed, until the few that are left receive relief. For his audience, there is again the compassion, the occasional irony, the suggestive styling, if in this book a less direct involvement or impact.

Pub Date: Jan. 8th, 1950
Publisher: Little, Brown