cover image The Last Victory

The Last Victory

Timeri Murari. St. Martin's Press, $19.95 (335pp) ISBN 978-0-312-03857-1

Following The Imperial Agent , Murari here concludes his dramatically imagined sequel to Kipling's Kim , disclosing the tragic human cost of the Raj during its closing years. He deftly makes the earlier tale readily accessible to those unacquainted with Kim, introducing its many characters and adding such later figures as Nehru and Gandhi. Opening in northern India in 1910 and ending with the infamous massacre by Gen. Dyer's troops at Amritsar in 1919, the novel follows Kim's adventures after his traumatic discovery that Col. Creighton, who had adopted him when he was abandoned as a child, has been cynically using him as an instrument of colonial rule. Despite his British parentage, Kim conceives of himself as a true son of India, and escapes Creighton with the beautiful Parvati, who is fleeing her husband and demonically jealous mother-in-law Gitabhai. While the periodic intervention of Hindu deities on Kim's behalf works well enough, Gitabhai's malevolent sorcery edges this otherwise engaging historical novel into crudely misogynistic melodrama. Nonetheless, the narrative succeeds in portraying the emotional complexity of deeply entangled British-Indian relationships. (Mar.)