The World Beyond
Rachael Bristow is the daughter of a British colonel stationed in Lucknow as the story opens in 1855. Irritated by British prejudice and bored with the stifling restrictions of colonial life, she feels increasingly drawn to Indian culture. Whilst visiting the bazaar, she encounters Salim, the adopted son of the local ruler, the Nawab of Audh. They discover a mutual interest in the music of each other’s cultures, and friendship slowly blossoms into love. But this is not a propitious time for romance, as the ruling East India Company becomes ever more heavy-handed. Salim’s father is deposed, and Indian sepoys are punished for refusing for religious reasons to handle gun cartridges greased with cow or pig fat. Meanwhile, Rachael’s father insultingly rejects Salim’s proposal of marriage. A sepoy is executed, British soldiers loot Indian homes and soon open revolt breaks out. Salim rescues Rachael after she has been injured by a gang of rebels and takes her to the safety of his palace, before heading off to join the fighting. Will they and their love survive the cataclysmic events to come?
Set against the background of the Indian Mutiny and the Siege of Lucknow, this novel is an absorbing blend of history and romance. India is depicted in all its vivid, sensual beauty, the brutality of war is not played down, and the minor characters are as sympathetically portrayed as the lovers themselves.