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The Siege of Krishnapur

Narrated by: Peter Wickham
Series: Empire Trilogy, Book 2
Length: 13 hrs and 1 min
Categories: Fiction, Literary
4.5 out of 5 stars (21 ratings)

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Summary

In the Spring of 1857, with India on the brink of a violent and bloody mutiny, Krishnapur is a remote town on the vast North Indian plain. For the British there, life is orderly and genteel. Then the sepoys at the nearest military cantonment rise in revolt, and the British community retreats with shock into the Residency. They prepare to fight for their lives with what weapons they can muster. 

As food and ammunition grow short, the Residency, its defences battered by shot and shell and eroded by the rains, becomes ever more vulnerable. The Siege of Krishnapur is a modern classic of narrative excitement that also digs deep to explore some fundamental questions of civilisation and life. 

©1996 J. G. Farrell (P)2018 Orion Publishing Group

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Great tale

I like many things about this. I like the humour and the way Farrell uses the benefit of hindsight, subtly to underline how and why things went so wrong, leading to the mutiny of the sepoys. I like the way the characters are set up and develop. There is quite a lot of bloodshed but it is so matter of fact that I didn’t find it too stomach churning. Farrell could have been a bit more concise - I didn’t really feel the need for a full exposition of John Snow’s epidemiological studies on cholera.

The reading was generally very good but bore out my theory that every narrator has at least one irritating mispronunciation. In this case it was cantonment, a word that must appear on nearly every page of the printed book. Both the Oxford dictionary and I believe it is pronounced can-TONN-ment but it was consistently delivered as can-tooon-ment. Why? Very irritating.