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The Campaign

The Scarlet Sword

First Published in 1950 by Michael Joseph Limited.

The Scarlet Sword

The entire action of The Scralet Sword takes place in arther less than ten days at a Catholic mission in Kashmir. There, at the moment when Kashmir forces break under the ferocious tribal rush of Pathans ad Afridis coming down to take part in the riot and massacre that was part of India's price for partition in 1947, about sixty people of many nationalities are trapped. They include not only the nuns, two priests, and many Sikh and Hindu women and children, but a war correspondent named Crane, a young English Colonel and his wife, a nurse from Glasgow, an English girl and her mother, and a dancer from the brothels of Bombay. In the first murderous descent of Pathans several of these are killed. The rest, fortified and led by the two priests, succoured and nursed by the nuns remain to resist by immense courage, fortitude, and humour ten days of nightmare.

"As a picture of a little mixed community under almost intolerable strain at a dramatic time in picturesque surroundings, the novel is excellent."
The Observer

"No writer can bring the Indian scene to our eyes with more profusion of descriptive power than Mr H.E. Bates, nor convey to our minds more sense of the pathos of human courage and frailty when events seem to have outridden endurance."

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