This is a record of the adventurers, buccaneers, buffoons and entrepeneurs who cut a swathe through the heart of the Raj, before and during the golden age of British-ruled India. Some are soldiers – like General Jean-Baptiste Ventura – others merchants, doctors like Martin Honigberger and Josiah Halan, antiquarians like Charles Masson, and native Indian rulers like the great Sikh Ranjit Singh. Some seventy names throng the pages of this enthralling – and sometimes frankly eccentric – book. But not all the adventurers represented here are heroes; one, Col. Alexander Gardiner, is exposed by the authors as a complete cad – who posed as a ‘very perfect gentle knight’ but who, as an exhaustive study of the records showed, was in reality a ‘Prize liar who passed off other men’s adventures as his own’ and was not above ‘Undertaking unsavoury duties with which other men entirely refused to have anything to do’. A gamey read, full of the richness of India.
C.Grey. Edited by H.L.O.Garrett, M.A. Keeper of the Records of the Punjab
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2009 N&M Press reprint (original pub 1929). SB iii+361pp+appendix xlviii+ index xii., 13 illustrations.