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The Far Pavilions Paperback – 1 Sep 2011
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Rip-roaring, heart-tugging, flag-flying, hair-raising, hoof-beating ... the very presence of India (The Times)
A long, romantic adventure story of the highest calibre ... wildly exciting (Daily Telegraph)
Magnificent is the only possible description for The Far Pavilions ... not one of its 950 pages is a page too much (Evening Standard)
A massive, meticulously researched and fascinating saga about the British in India, encompassing a guarter of a century, from the Mutiny up to war with ferocious Afghan tribemen (Sunday Express)
A Gone With the Wind of the North-West frontier (Jan Morris The Times)
About the Author
M. M. Kaye (1908-2004) was born and grew up in Simla, India. Her grandfather, father, brother and husband all served the Raj. M. M. Kaye won worldwide fame for The Far Pavilions, which became a best-seller on publication in 1978.
She also wrote a series of detective novels, including Death in Kashmir and Death in Zanzibar, and an autobiography, published in three volumes, collectively entitled Share of Summer: The Sun in the Morning, Golden Afternoon, and Enchanted Evening.
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The story itself is fantastically read by several narrators and the ambience created by the sound affects is wonderfully atmospheric that I could easily imagine the setting the characters were in.
While I enjoyed this audio book immensley, I do feel that it was so abridged that it took away a huge proportion of the story. When I flipped through my book at home, the first chapters (which are beautifully written and really set the scene) are completley missing. I know it's such a long book and it would have been up to 40 hours as its unabridged version, but I do somehow feel cheated that I so much of what was in the book was missing in this audio version.
A thumbs up for the way the CD is put together, but I am now going to make an effort to read it in full.
I won't summarise the plot, this has already been excellently done by other reviewers, but suffice to say this is a wonderful story, both a rattling good adventure, and sweeping romance set against the backdrop of the Raj. India itself is richly invoked "a country of gods and gold and famine; ugly as a rotting corpse and beautiful beyond belief". While the vast cast of peripheral characters can be bewildering at first the central characters are well fleshed out, particularly our hero - Ash aka Ashok aka Ashton Pelham-Martyn, a man brought up between races, faiths and continents - ultimately in search of his own identity. I have to admit though that as a teenager my heart was thoroughly captured by Ash's best friend Walter (Wally) Hamilton, a real life ancestor of the author's husband (I believe) whose part in the real life political and military events of the time is woven seamlessly into the story.
Don't be put off by the book's size (although I have now solved this problem by buying the Kindle version), this is a book that will call you back again and again, like other reviewers I have bought several copies over the years - either read to death, or lent out never to return.
I really loved reading the Far Pavilions , so now that I have finished it I am going to watch the DVD version that I bought last week, hope it does not disappoint!!!!
This book pictures British India so well in my opininon and combines history, action, romance and war effortlessly. When I was teaching I would re tell some of the stories to my classes e.g. the rescue from Suttee fire and the Guides last bloody stand in Kabul.
If you are interested in British India and would like a book which feels like Kipling meets Sharpe then you must read this classic.
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1) The descriptions - I could really visualise India with its snow-capped mountains and scorching hot plains thanks to M. M.Read more