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It doesn't get much better than The Raj Quartet. The books tell a compelling story and are set in a fascinating place and time. The character development is very good and offers an interesting take on the British women who were in India. Books one and two, The Jewel in the Crown and the Day of the Scorpion, are excellent, but I would rate books three and four, The Towers of Silence and A Division of the Spoils, even higher. The story has an interesting way of building as you progress through each novel. There are several lengthy references backward that add complex layers onto what you already know about a person or incident. You end up understanding, liking, or disliking characters more as fuller pictures of them emerge around past events. This being said, each book is self-contained and could be read on its own. I liked book three, The Towers of Silence, the most.
This particular edition, from Everyman's Library, contains The Towers of Silence and A Division of the Spoils and is high quality and very attractive. I bought it because I already had the Everyman's Library edition of the first two books, and I wanted the matching set for my library. They are beautiful, and it is so nice to read text printed on paper. The drawback, and this is minimal, is that the books are very heavy and large due to the high page count. If I didn't already have the nice edition of books one and two, I probably would have bought these in a Kindle version.
If you haven't started the Raj Quartet, you are in for a treat. I am jealous that you still have 2,000 pages of reading bliss ahead of you!
Scott's massive opus is brilliant, disturbing, heart-breaking. It presents the British experience of events leading up to, during, and somewhat following the dissolution of the Raj. If one is looking for voices of the sub-continent, there are better places to find them; but Scott's treatment of these events, and their human toll, is knowledgeable, sensitive and penetrating, from British perspectives. His analysis of racism and ignorance on the part of the Raj is devastating. This history is still relevant today.
have been enjoying reading The Raj Quartet. If you like interesting stories in the classical style, and don't mind lengthy reads , it provides an unusual perspective (part fiction, part real events)of the British in the 30s and 40s. This review is for the third and fourth volume in the series - each volume references the book before it and spends a fair amount of time bringing the reader up to speed on previous events (as the books were originally published separately) , but this is done from the perspective of different characters each time and is not at all repetitive. Before reading, enjoy The Raj Quarter: Jewel in the Crown and Day of the Scorpion as well.
Paul Scott's continuing narrative of the final years of the Raj presence in the sub-continent of India enacted out through a thoroughly entertaining group of characters provided an excellent read and will no doubt prove just as enjoyable to reread in the future.