3.5 out of 5 stars

A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.

In 1905, a young cavalryman arrives in Bengal to serve in the 17th Bengal Lancers on the Northwest Frontier of British India. The nineteen-year-old Francis Yeats-Brown did not know what to expect. On the morning of his arrival in Bareilly, one of the first things that he did was to buy a horse. He called her Judy.

He quickly settled into his privileged new life there, he only had to sign a chit to get anything that he needed. It was when he was out riding his horse though that he got a grasp of how different a life that the people of that vast continent had compared to his. He learnt the army way and was soon be on his way to the northwestern frontier. It was there he would meet the men who would be under his command.

He then had a seminal moment, when he went from doing all the military stuff to realising that there was a spiritual element to the country that he wanted to know about. He sought advice from the yogi, Sivanand Joshi, who advised him that the path he wanted to seek was not going to be easy. It would be a prediction that would prove correct as he is moved from India to Europe to be on active service in the First World War. It was an experience that changed him forever.

This is a very different perspective on the time of the British Raj, mostly because Yeats-Brown is passionately interested in the people that he was living alongside and in particular, their spiritual way of life. It is a book of its time though and some of his prejudices that he has are now out of date, I think that it is still worth reading for this unique inside view of life in that time.

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