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In the turbulent final years of the British Raj, Lt. Ed Pierse, an Anglo-Indian officer in the Dogra Regiment, faces the Japanese invasion of Malaya. He loves his fiancee Ellen, soldiering and hockey, hoping to play in the Olympics one day. His best friends, Chandra, the sophisticated son of a rich landowner, and Farrell, an ambitious English public schoolboy, join him in fighting the enemy down the length of the country until forced to surrender in Singapore. In captivity, their lives take very different paths and Pierse's friends turn against him to serve their own selfish ends. Pierse returns from the war a wreck, having worked on the infamous death railway', only to find out that Ellen has married, having been falsely told that he was dead he needs to find out who lied to her, and why. He also tries to find her. Farrell betrayed Pierse in captivity so he could stay on in India and make his fortune, but his lies about his past are unravelling. Chandra returns in chains, accused of being a traitor for joining the Japanese-backed Indian National Army who fought the British. As the three former friends' lives collide in a dangerous mix of revenge and ambition, India is in turmoil. The British are struggling to keep the country from descending into chaos as violence between Hindus and Muslims escalates and the people clamour for freedom. Events climax in the turbulent week before Indian independence, as millions move to try to reach safety before India is partitioned. The three are reunited in an uneasy truce and take to the road, joining the human tide, to try to find Ellen before new borders rise. But best laid plans
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Owen Thorpe was born in India. After graduating from St Xavier's College, Calcutta, he worked for The Statesman newspaper and All India Radio. In 1970, he joined the UK Civil Service, working on government and EU policy and latterly, setting up new government agencies. He is passionate about Anglo-Indian history.
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