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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
Mutiny! The War for India (The Thomas Mason Trilogy) by Nigel Seed is the third and final installment of this author’s wonderful trilogy that focuses on the Mason brothers and their sojourns in India and Crimea for both the British East India Company and the British Army itself. Whilst Thomas has been away fighting in Crimea, his brother Steven has remained in India with the British East India Company forces and built a life there for himself. When the company attempts to introduce a new type of bullet for the army in India, one that is greased with animal fat and requires the Sepoys to lick them before loading them, it is the “straw that breaks the camel’s back” for these previous loyal native soldiers. The Sepoys begin to revolt and the Indian Mutiny is underway. Thomas and his troops, currently defending Scottish factories and their owners from violent strikers, are tasked with returning to India to assist in putting down the Sepoy mutiny. It appears the two brothers are destined to find one another again. Thomas especially is excited to return to India where he has considerable wealth, plundered from dead soldiers on his previous term in India. His plans for a bright future away from the threat of arrest for the accidental death of a magistrate in his hometown will be dependent on the honesty of the Indian trader in whose safe care he left his plunder.
Having read and loved both of the first two books in the trilogy, I was excited to read the final book in this saga; Mutiny! I was not disappointed. This story is a continuation of the fascinating events that took place in India, as the locals began to question the right of the British to control their lives and dictate their religious convictions. The practice of licking shells before loading them became the excuse on which the Sepoys rose up and mutinied against their British overlords but it was clearly a case of the final straw for many Indians. What author Nigel Seed does so incredibly well is to highlight this story from the perspective of the common British soldier. It is clear the soldiers had many doubts about their “superiors’” abilities as officers but were often compelled to obey even the stupidest of orders from these men. What I particularly liked about this tale was that much of it focused on Steven, whereas Crimea had exclusively been written about Thomas. Be warned, the author pulls no punches when it comes to describing the close-combat fighting and violent carnage that was so typical of nineteenth-century warfare. There is blood, guts, and gore galore but there is also compassion, humanity, and a feeling for the downtrodden common Indian who was being forced to “kowtow” to these “superior” colonials. Despite that the Indians clearly felt their civilization, culture and religion was fine and didn’t need to be changed, the colonial zeal of the British was up-front and clear for all to see. This is a fantastic read, a great book, and indeed a superb series of three stories that I give my highest recommendation.