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Raj Quartet, The

The Jewel in the Crown, The Day of the Scorpion, The Towers of Silence

four novels by Paul Scott, published between 1966 and 1974. Set between 1939 and 1947, these inter-connected novels gradually bring to light the corruption and bigotry within the Anglo-Indian community, and trace the roots of the violence following on the British departure and the Partition of India. The books share a complex narrative structure which incorporates letters, conversations, reports, and memories, presenting the same events from different, and conflicting, viewpoints. The first two novels—The Jewel in the Crown (1966) and The Day of the Scorpion (1968)—centre on two main events: the attack on Miss Crane, an elderly school supervisor, and, in the Bibighar Gardens at Mayapore, the multiple rape by Indians of an English girl, Daphne Manners. Characters and scenes from the first novel are seen in a harsher, less edifying light in the second, particularly the imprisonment of the English-educated Hari Kumar by the sadistic police superintendent, Ronald Merrick. The Towers of Silence (1972), set in the hill station of Pankot, covers a similar period, but introduces new characters, notably Barbara Batchelor, a retired missionary teacher, who suffers the insults and snobbery of the class-conscious British wives. The lengthy final novel, A Division of the Spoils (1974), concentrates on the two years leading up to Partition. Through several interwoven stories, and the fresh eyes of Guy Peron, it views both the tragic and comic elements of Britain's ignominious retreat and the ensuing explosion of violence between Muslim and Hindu.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: David Rabe Biography to Rhinoceros (Rhinocéros)