John Masters' third novel about India has its central figure Robin Savage, a strange, contradictory character. He seems never to need the love or company of his fellow beings, yet as a soldier he is a careful, considerate officer.
Through a misunderstanding he is accused of cowardice, and this book has as its theme the mission he undertook to live down this rumor, for the sake of his wife and the military traditions of his family, and to try to find what he is seeking in the emptiness of the wild and barren border country. His mission in 1880 was one of the most dangerous and important secret service appointments in the history of British India.
His relationship with his wife, who wants both to bind hm and free him with her love, with his faithful Gurkha orderly, and with his Russian quarry Marulev, a man who is also seeking self-realization, are understandingly described, and the violence and fear of his journey give this book intensity in excitement as well as in tranquility.
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