The Jewel in the Crown, 1966

(Great Characters in Literature)

Edwina Crane

Edwina Crane, a supervisor of Protestant mission schools in colonial India. She and her colleague, Mr. Chaudhuri, are attacked on the road by a group of rebellious Indians in the wake of the “Quit India” pronouncement issued by the All India Congress Committee in August, 1942. The pronouncement was made in an effort to force England to leave the country to its own fate. Mr. Chaudhuri is killed, apparently, because he is seen riding in a car with a white woman, and Edwina is attacked when she attempts to defend him. Afterward, Edwina, dressed in a white sari, immolates herself in imitation of the traditional Indian practice of suttee, in which a widow follows her husband even in death by being burned alive.

Daphne Manners

Daphne Manners, the niece of a former British colonial governor. She is staying in Mayapore at the home of a family friend, Lily Chatterjee, when she becomes romantically involved with a young Indian man, Hari Kumar. After the two consummate their love one night in the deserted Bibighar Gardens, they are set upon by a group of Indian ruffians who rape Daphne and beat Hari. Afterward, Hari and five other Indian boys are arrested, but Daphne, pregnant with what she believes to be Hari’s child, refuses to give evidence at their trial. She dies in childbirth.

Hari Kumar

Hari Kumar, an Indian who was reared from the age of two in England, where he attended an elite school, Chillingborough. After his father loses his money and commits suicide, Hari is forced to return to India to live in Mayapore with an aunt. Unable to speak any language other than the king’s English and utterly alienated from his country of origin, Hari is a tragic figure. While he is drunk, he comes to the attention of the district superintendent of police, who later accuses him of raping Daphne Manners. Even though there is no evidence to convict Hari of that crime, he remains in jail as a political subversive.

Ronald Merrick

Ronald Merrick, the district superintendent of police for Mayapore. He is acutely aware of his lower-class British origins. He proposes to the aristocratic Daphne Manners. After she rejects him, he fixates on Hari Kumar, whom he persecutes for what he sees as the latter’s more privileged existence, one he views as not befitting an inherently inferior “black” man.

The Raj Quartet The Day of the Scorpion, 1968

(Great Characters in Literature)

Sarah Layton

Sarah Layton, the elder daughter of an Anglo-Indian military family. She returns to India, where she was born, after being schooled in England. Sarah, unlike her mother and sister—and many of those around her—has a deep sympathy for India. Her complex reaction to the welter of ambiguities accompanying the last days of the Raj leads to an identification with Daphne Manners, whose orphaned child and elderly aunt, Lady Manners, Sarah visits.

Susan Layton

Susan Layton, Sarah’s prettier younger sister. She marries British army officer Teddie Bingham, who is killed in action connected with World War II shortly after their honeymoon. After her elderly aunt also dies, Susan goes into early labor with the child she conceived with her husband. Events overwhelm Susan, who becomes mentally unbalanced and seemingly tries, ritualistically, to set fire to her baby.

Ronald Merrick

Ronald Merrick, now a captain in military intelligence, who acts as Teddie Bingham’s best man. This begins a relationship with the Laytons, particularly Sarah, who dislikes him. Merrick is revealed to be both heroic (he is badly mutilated in an attempt to save Teddie’s life) and villainous (his interrogation of Hari Kumar is revealed to have been brutally sadistic).

Barbie Batchelor

Barbie Batchelor, a retired mission school supervisor and acquaintance of Edwina Crane. She becomes a paying guest of and companion to Sarah and Susan’s aunt, Mabel Layton, one of the few remaining representatives of the old, patrician Raj. As Barbie learns more about Edwina’s fate, she comes to identify with her dead friend, and after Mabel’s death, Barbie sinks into madness.

The Raj Quartet A Division of the Spoils, 1975

(Great Characters in Literature)

Guy Perron

Guy Perron, who, after receiving an excellent English public school education at Chillingborough, refuses an officer’s commission, instead becoming a sergeant in the field service in India during Britain’s withdrawal. Perron, who has a deep understanding of the historical significance of the events he witnesses there, develops a relationship with Sarah Layton and, against his will, serves as an aide to Ronald Merrick, now a lieutenant colonel.

Nigel Rowan

Nigel Rowan, the political aide to the British governor. He previously examined the jailed Hari Kumar and is now obliged to confront the political fallout from his case, which is being heavily exploited by forces bent on ejecting the English from India. Rowan also serves as a witness to the struggle between Hindus and Muslims that threatens to undermine Indian independence.

Ronald Merrick

Ronald Merrick, who, after marrying Susan Layton, is hounded and finally assassinated by Indian fanatics.

The Raj Quartet Bibliography

(Critical Guide to British Fiction)

Levin, Martin. Review of The Towers of Silence, in The New York Times Book Review. LXVI (February 20, 1972), p. 26.

The New York Times Book Review. Review of The Day of the Scorpion. LXXX (April 29, 1979), p. 67.

The New York Times Book Review. Review of The Jewel in the Crown. LXXX (February 11, 1979), p. 37.

Rao, K. Bhaskara. Paul Scott, 1980.

Swinden, Patrick. Paul Scott: Images of India, 1980.

Time. Review of A Division of the Spoils. CVI (September 8, 1975), p. 68.