Reviewing John Masters " Night Runners Of Bengal"

John Masters was an Anglo Indian writer who served in the British Indian Army. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel and saw action in Burma. He also attended the staff Course for officers at Quetta (Now in Pakistan). After leaving the army John masters started writing books and novels which have won critical acclaim. Night Runners of Bengal was his first novel published in 1951. The novel was chosen as the American literary Guilds Book of the Month on publication.


In this novel John masters created a vivid picture of the Indian Mutiny of 1857. He also introduced a fictional

family , the Savage family which has lived in India for over a100 years. The savage family forms the backdrop of subsequent novels of John Masters. Most critics are of the view  that the creation of the Savage family was auto biographical and refers to john Masters own family tree.


The plot of the novel is set during the time of the Indian Mutiny of 1857, where a Captain Rodney Savage who is an officer of the Bengal Native Infantry spends his life slightly bored. He however is devoted to his Indian sepoys.
Unaware to Savage


resentment is brewing in the ranks and its soon erupts. The British officers and his wife are killed by the sepoys and Savage escapes the fury of the killings by hiding with sympathetic villagers. He takes his son and an English girl Caroline Langford with him. They are the sole survivors.


Savage and his new love finally reach the British lines and join them in the assault on his own regiment. Savage leads the charge on his old regiment, but the irony is that the charge is led by an Indian regiment which has remained loyal to the English.
The Night Runners is a wonderful book. The prose is simple and Masters paints a vivid picture of India during the days of the rule by East India Company. His knowledge of Indian customs and traditions is flawless. This book is a must for a reader interested in historical fiction of the days of the Raj.
Incidentally the title of the book refers to messengers who distributed Chapatis before the out break of the revolt to fellow soldiers of other garrisons.
 



Article Written By Madan G Singh

An early retired Gp Capt from Air Force who is an Executive Director in the Corporate world. Loves to write fiction and articles. Published over 60 short stories and his novel" Romance of the Frontier" is published from Notion Books.His second novel is on way for publication. The author also has close to 10,000 articles on the b net with millions of views

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