The Strangler Vine

The Strangler Vine

Large Print - 2015
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India. 1837. William Avery, a fresh young officer in the East India Company, arrives in Calcutta expecting to be seduced by its ancient traditions. Nine months later he hasn't learnt a word of Hindoostani, is in terrible debt, and longs to return home before the cholera epidemic finishes him off. A few months earlier, so rumour has it, the infamous and disgraced poet Xavier Mountstuart leaves Calcutta in order to track down the last of the remaining Thugs, a sinister secret fraternity notorious for strangling thousands of travellers. But after reaching the kingdom of Jubbulpore, Mountstuart mysteriously disappears.
Publisher: Farmington Hills, Mich. : Thorndike Press, A part of Gale, Cengage Learning, 2015.
Edition: Large Print edition.
Copyright Date: ♭2014
ISBN: 9781410478214
Characteristics: 569 pages


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Sep 18, 2017

Excellent historical fiction about India in the 1830s before the Sepoy Rebellion. Characters are interesting and not boring and predictable. Interesting insights on the so-called Thugee cult dedicated to the goddess Kali. Read this and then check out the original 1939 film "Gunga Din" with Cary Grant et al which deals with the same cult in the latter part of the 19th century.

Sep 13, 2016

I found the history of British colonization and deceitful treatment of the people of India very interesting. Carter has created a mystery in which the reader becomes ensnared trying to figure out who is the bad guy. I found the plot starting to drag as I got further into the book, but all that detail is necessary in order to fill readers in on the relationship between the British and the Indians. Also because of the detail, Carter has created characters of depth. The reader really does know the characters. This was a book that might have been better read in hard book form rather than electronic. On a Kindle it is too hard to access the dictionary of Hindu words that found in the text of the book.

Aug 18, 2016

This is the best fiction I think I've read this year, and I also like the historical research that the author has done. It's really a great 'mystery-historical-fiction', and I wouldn't have known about the book except that Montlake Library had it on its "newly arrived" shelf!
I checked Amazon for M.J. Carter, and she has a second book out with the same characters.

Mar 19, 2016

Very enjoyable read with a plot supported by the journalist author's impeccable research to capture the context, scenery, events and customs of 19th century India occupied by the British East India Company. The scenes are extremely vivid and detailed and the somewhat dark/gruesome plot (no Merchant Ivory production type fluff here), credible.

The author goes to great lengths to narrate as if written from the perspective of a young British soldier using anglicized spelling of native words as might have been used at that time rather than the gentrified contemporary versions. Just an example of the attention to detail that has gone into this novel.

The narrating protagonist's transformation from a naive "company man" with stereotypical views of natives into a weary, hardened and disillusioned individual as events unfold is well done. If there is anything to nitpick, it would be something that afflicts so many women writers, even the manly-in-action heroes tend to be a bit effeminate emotionally in their interactions.


Sep 23, 2015

An adventure story with lots of good historical details, a likable if slightly generic first-person narrator, several other mysterious characters, and plenty of action.

Jul 27, 2015

The author asks "What if Kim, the streetwise orphan from the streets of Lahore who is recruited to help a British spymaster in Kipling's classic adventure novel, Kim, grew up to become a spymaster himself? Clever idea. This novel will definitely mean more to those who learned about the "Great Game" - the geopolitical struggle between Russia and Great Britain for control of northwest Asia from Kipling's novel.

hgeng63 Jul 16, 2015

Read this one for the atmosphere. The characters are a bit thin. (I would read a sequel, though.)

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