Excerpt from To the Coral Strand: A Novel
When John Masters started writing in 1949 he determined to use the ﬂexibility and insight of the novel to paint a broad canvas of the British period in India. To give continuity to the whole, which would cover a period of three centuries, he linked the stories to the characters and adventures of a single family, the Savages. Jason Savage, a young Wiltshire farm boy, ran away to sea, reaching India early in the seventeenth century, in Coromandel! There follows a considerable chronological gap when the family was sunk in the obscurity which then generally covered a turbulent and strife-torn India until the emergence of William Savage, who, in 1826, uncovered and destroyed the ritual murder society known as Thuggee (the Deceivers). William's son, Rodney Savage, an officer of the Bengal Native Infantry, fought through the Great Indian Mutiny of 18 57 (n ightrunners of Bengal). Rodney's son, Robin Savage, took a notable part in the great game of espionage and counterespionage that was played out between England and Russia on the high steppes of Central Asia in the 1880's (the Lotus and the Wind), but shortly afterward disappeared, leaving twin babies, 3 boy and a girl. Theboy, Peter Savage, went to Cambridge, entered the Indian Civil Service, and became the most famous and ruthless Himalayan moun taineer of the Edwardian period before the First World War (far, Far the Mountain Peak). Peter's son, named Rodney after his great grandfather, joined the Indian Army, and in 1946 felt the first intimations that the British period in India was drawing to a close (bhowani Junction). It is this same Rodney Savage who, a year later, becomes the protagonist of To the Coral Strand and is relent lessly pressed back, by the forces of history, to the shore upon which the same forces landed Jason Savage more than three hundred years earlier.
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