QUEEN OF THE HEAD-HUNTERS by Sylvia Brooke

QUEEN OF THE HEAD-HUNTERS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Actually she didn't engage in that particular sport although she was the Ranee of Sarawak, consort of Vyner Brook, the third and last white Rajah of the Asian principality of 50,000 square miles and a half-million souls, most of them collectors of above-the-shoulders trophies. Over 80 now, Sylvia Brooke smiles back serenely on her life with the Raj, to whom she was wed for over 50 years. Growing up she was ""the runt in a litter of pedigree puppies"" despite her literary accomplishments (she wrote short stories and novels) and her friendship with G. B. Shaw and J. M. Barrie. But her benevolent, autocratic husband rescued her from an overbearing, illustrious father, gave her three daughters and lifelong ""friendship,"" and introduced her to that exotic and beautiful land where the natives were ""gay and lighthearted and mischievous as children"" and where she had to walk four steps behind her lord. Tolerant despite her starchy upbringing, she didn't mind his chronic infidelities because ""it was part of his colour and charm."" Now living in Barbados, Mrs. Brooke recalls the kinder side of imperialism -- the story of Sarawak's three Rajahs, ""James, the Brave, Charles the Wise, now Vyner the Good"" and English gentility in the shadows of the Proud Tower with equanimity and affection unruffled by World War II, age, rheumatism, the death of her husband, and a great reduction in family fortunes. A pleasant way to while away the twilight.

Pub Date: March 10th, 1972
Publisher: Morrow