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In this his fourth novel against a setting of India, John Masters has chosen an almost contemporary period, shortly prior to the recognition of the independence of India, for another novel of violence. Cutting deeper below the surface of India's own tragedy of internal insecurity in her antagonisms rooted in caste and blood strains, Masters has created one memorable character, the lovely half-caste, Victoria Jones, daughter of a railroad engineer, two thirds English, and a native mother. Victoria is an officer in Army, and- home on end leave, hopes to be accepted without apologies on her own, without reference to her Anglo-Indian status. The three men who love her in the tumultuous days that follow drive home the differences rather than the likes:- Patrick, whose similar heritage has emphasized all the worst characteristics of both races; Colonel Savage, white, trying to persuade himself- and her- that she would be accepted as his wife; and Sikh Ranjit, who is readopting his Sikh tradition and religion and asking her to do the same. That their personal challenges come at the same time as an upheaval of violence within their India makes for melodrama colored emotionally and evocatively with the feel and sense of India itself. It is a harder thing to do in today's setting than in the period background of Nightrunners of Bengal and its successors. But once again, for those to whom Masters is in a way today's Kipling, Bhowani Junction will carry immense appeal. Book of the Month for April means it is off to a good start.

Pub Date: March 26th, 1954
Publisher: Viking