This is a good, solid effort by Mr. David. He has 2 major points that he wants to prove. The first is that the mutiny was not a spontaneous uprising with one simple cause (the beef/pork tallow cartridge issue). The second is that the outcome (a British victory) was anything but a foregone conclusion. He succeeds in proving both of his points. He shows that the uprising had several causes: poor pay, frustration over the lack of opportunities for promotion, the insensitivity of the British concerning the caste system, and a lack of communication between the British and the Indian troops, caused by arrogance and racism on the part of the British. Mr. David shows that the cartridge issue (which was really a non-issue, since the problem had already been corrected before any of the odious cartridges would have had to have been used) was only a pretext- something that the leaders of the mutiny, mostly high-caste Brahman officers, knew they could use to agitate the "rank-and-file" sepoys. Mr. David also shows that the uprising was anything but spontaneous. There were many indications that something was "in the works". Some of the more astute British officers and East India Company representatives knew what was in the wind...but their warnings were either ignored or, if actions had been initiated to correct grievances, it was a case of "too little, too late". Also, in addition to the above factors, there was much resentment caused by the British annexation of various "fiefdoms"- areas where a local ruler had died and left no natural heir. Longstanding tradition, even under the British, had been that the ruler could pass the property on to an adopted child. The British got greedy and decided they could use the lack of a natural heir as an excuse to grab up these juicy, revenue producing areas for themselves. Once it was clear that the British would not play "cricket"- they'd break the rules when it suited them- some Indians felt that it was time for them to be forced out of the country. Regarding Mr. David's second point, that the mutiny could have succeeded, he proves his point by showing that since the mutiny had spread to several areas, and since the British were substantially outnumbered by the natives, the outcome was dicey for many months. What probably saved the British was the fragmented nature of the mutiny....despite the fact that the uprising itself was planned, there was a lack of coordination and leadership. The various factions pretty much did as they pleased, and the British were slowly able to regain control.....area by area. Mr. David does a nice job of balancing the material that will appeal to the reader that enjoys military history (the nuts-and-bolts of the strategy and battles) and the material that will appeal to the general reader (character sketches of many of the participants, first-person accounts by civilians regarding the horrors of the various sieges, etc.). The maps are all placed together at the start of the book, and are nicely detailed so that the reader can easily follow the "action". If the book has any weakness, it is that since there were so many things going on, the author tends to jump around from place to place a little too rapidly- and he sometimes gets caught up in the small details (for example, constantly giving you the numerical breakdown in various regiments of how many men were British infantry or cavalry vs. Indian infantry or cavalry, etc.). This tended, for me, to break the smooth flow of the narrative- although I can see the appeal to the more military-minded reader. In any case, within the big picture, these are small complaints because Mr. David has written a very exciting and well-reasoned book.