Listen free for 30 days

  • The Patient Assassin

  • A True Tale of Massacre, Revenge and the Raj
  • By: Anita Anand
  • Narrated by: Anita Anand
  • Length: 10 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, World
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (288 ratings)

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £14.39

Buy Now for £14.39

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

Anita Anand tells the remarkable story of one Indian's 20-year quest for revenge, taking him around the world in search of those he held responsible for the Amritsar massacre of 1919, which cost the lives of hundreds.

When Sir Michael O'Dwyer, the lieutenant governor of Punjab, ordered brigadier general Reginald Dyer to Amritsar, he wanted him to bring the troublesome city to heel. Sir Michael had become increasingly alarmed at the effect Gandhi was having on his province as well as recent demonstrations, strikes and shows of Hindu-Muslim unity. All these things, in Sir Michael's mind at least, were a precursor to a second Indian Mutiny. What happened next shocked the world. An unauthorised political gathering in the Jallianwallah Bagh in Amritsar in April 1919 became the focal point for Sir Michael's law enforcers. Dyer marched his soldiers into the walled garden, filled with over a thousand unarmed men, women and children, blocking the only exit. Then, without issuing any order to disperse,  he instructed his men to open fire, turning their guns on the thickest parts of the crowd. For 10 minutes they continued firing, stopping only when they ran out of ammunition. 

According to legend, Udham Singh was injured in the attack and remained in the Bagh, surrounded by the dead and dying, until he was able to move the next morning. Then, he supposedly picked up a handful of blood-soaked earth, smeared it across his forehead and vowed to kill the men responsible. 

The truth, as the author has discovered, is more complex but no less dramatic. She traced Singh's journey through Africa and the United States and across Europe before, in March 1940, he finally arrived in front of O'Dwyer in a London hall ready to shoot him down. The Patient Assassin shines a devastating light on one of the Raj's most horrific events but reads like a taut thriller and reveals some astonishing new insights into what really happened. 

©2019 Anita Anand (P)2019 Simon & Schuster UK

More from the same

Narrator

What listeners say about The Patient Assassin

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    204
  • 4 Stars
    52
  • 3 Stars
    26
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    192
  • 4 Stars
    34
  • 3 Stars
    17
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    4
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    187
  • 4 Stars
    44
  • 3 Stars
    16
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

a common template

I have just finished this book and I was glued to it from start to finish. I suppose the reason I was so interested in it is that, if you change the names to Irish names and the places to Irish towns, the story is exactly the same.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A tad disappointing

I am quite interested in Indian history and culture but unfortunately the main summary of this story was more interesting than the actual book. I enjoyed it generally but at points found myself having not listened to the last 20 minutes.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Human rights?

The story of Udham Singh is a stark lesson of how imperialism came at a cost to India. The raj was a despotic and greedy abusive regime that consumed greedily the riches of India whilst trying to sate it appetite with a notion that Britain was culturally improving an uncivilised country. This is a challenging part of our history that deserves to be told

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

Well written and very clear understanding of a pivotal point in Indians history. Beautiful read by the author I highly recommend this to anyone interested in the events of 100 years ago.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • S
  • 19-06-21

Very well-researched

Another well-written and well-researched book by Anita Anand. Her other book, 'Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary' was also very good. Both books explore the history of the Punjab and Britain. I think it helps to read the Sophia book first, because offers the backstory about the region, their faith, their losses and collective traumatic pain the people feel.

The Patient Assassin starts at a time when Punjab is under British rule, but only a century earlier this very region was united in peace and prosperity under the Lion of Punjab, Ranjit Singh. For context, Punjab is where the mysterious Kohinoor diamond and other Sikh treasures were taken through the cynical exploitation of the last Sikh King (Ranjit Singh's son) Duleep Singh when he was just a child. That's the traumatic pain of its people: collectively they know how much they've lost through injustices and humilations done unto them by the British. It is not a surprise that Bhagat Singh and Udham Singh are atheists who take matters of Justice into their own hands. Where is God's Justice?

This is a difficult subject matter to digest because it raised so many philosophical and ethical dilemmas. I'm still not sure how I feel about the protagonist, Udham Singh. He doesn't sound like a reliable friend or husband but there is a good reason for his instability and desperation; he was an orphan and born into poverty.

Is it right for his birthplace in Sunham and India (including previous Prime Minister Indra Ghandi) to celebrate that fact he murdered an old man called Sir Michael O'Dwyer? Indeed, is it right to celebrate any murder?

But which is worse? The massacre of many unarmed men, women and children committed on the watch of Sir Michael O'Dwyer on 13th April 1919 at Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in Punjab *OR* Udham Singh's avenging assassination of the one Sir Michael O'Dwyer when he is an old man? Neither is good. But which is worse?

I liked how Anita Anand shows us the human side of the commanding officer, Reginald Dyer, who was responsible for ordering soldiers to shoot on 13th April 1919 at Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in Punjab. Those who defended him argued that he "did his duty as he saw it". But could the same point be argued about Udham Singh assassination of Sir Michael O'Dwyer too? One man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist.

Would the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in Punjab on 13th April 1919 be remembered had it not been for Udham Singh's assassination of Sir Michael O'Dwyer? I know the authorities wanted to cut links between the two, but it becomes obvious when you question the motives. Why would an orphan called Udham Singh born in Punjab murder Sir Michael O'Dwyer? With a bit of digging the link with 13th April 1919 at Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in Punjab makes some sense of a vengeance or grievance.

It is clear that Anita Anand has had to read between the lines and speculate in parts. Her interpretation sounds persuasive and she has clearly done the best with the evidence she has sourced. Looking forwards to reading Anita's next book; intrigued to find out the subject matter of that too!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • m
  • 15-06-20

The Legend of Mohammed Singh Azaad

Freedom fighter assassin: depends on your point ov view. The story of Udham Singh who swore revenge on The British Empire after witnessing the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar. His life's mission: to eradicate the then Governor of Punjab, Sir Michael O'Dwyer. fascinating expose of the man and the mystery. 21 years later in 1940 at The Caxton Hall in London, he would open fire strike a blow for Indian Independence. 80 years later thd Indian Government have still not built his memorial.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • AH
  • 13-05-20

very detailed biography

A very well thought out and very thoroughly researched. Many little but crucial facts such as the mention of; Ian Fleming's brother, T.H Lawrence's brother, Sikhs in Stockton California, Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany and perhaps tacit American approval of Udham until the later 1930s. The mention of the MI5 founder's involvement in the case, British Establishment approval of Fascist race ideas (a mention of Spectator magazines support of the BUF), as well as the ease with which the British press, especially Reuters complied with censorship orders from MI5 is a little surprising. These all build a thorough historical picture that is almost difficult to comprehend in scope, of worldwide cold war in the freedom of India, and one Indian peasant's role.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent story from the Raj.

The most memorable moments are the massacre at Amritsar and the assassination in London. If you are interested in the story of the Raj this is a good listen. Very well narrated by Anita Anand.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

excellent from start to finish

The detail and the historic precision was extraordinary and Anita Anand's narration could not have been better. Not only was this a pleasure to listen to but i have genuinely learnt about a part of history that i knew littlw about beforehand. Thoroughly recommended

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting if rather dry historical account

I thought I was getting a novel from the blurb. Although a very interesting account of the period and colourful character, it was rather dry, made the more so by the monotonous narration by the author. Never let them read their own material! It needs the interpretation of a great narrator to make a book sing.

1 person found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for BusyArt
  • BusyArt
  • 10-10-20

A long overdue history

Beautifully narrated with feeling, the story of Udham Singh had been nearly forgotten outside of Punjab. I know he did not figure in our history books. Anita Anand has done us a tremendous service of rounding out the history of India which has long been dominated by a handful of names. She has enabled Udham Singh to take his rightful place in India’s struggle for Independence. I bought the book before I finished the first chapter. Highly recommended.