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More years ago than I care to count, I idly pulled a book from the library stacks and took it home to read with a pile of other books.

I loved it and read it twice. Of course, the author and title are now buried deep in my subconscious (I think that's what happens) so I'm unable to easily add it to my little library and I very much want to do so. Having been successful in my previous search, I thought I'd try again.

The story takes place between WW I and WW II in British India.

It tells the story of a young boy, and his sister I think. They are the children of the colonel of a regiment of lancers in the regular army. The boy is young enough that he is still at home, but being sent off to England for school is looming in his immediate future.

The colonel is preoccupied by the problems associated with combining his regiment with another regiment of lancers. I think, but am not at all sure, that the result of this combination was the 20th/21st Lancers. Certainly it was one of those "fractured" numbers that used to drive the American brass to distraction. And of course, these numbers do not relate to a genuine regiment; of if they do, then my memory is wrong with respect to the numbers, though there are/were some cavalry regiments that retained the number of both regiments in the new title. Students of the British Army will understand that regimental identities are far more important in the British Army than in most other lesser armies.

Our hero has a number of adventures and at some point, the bite of the cobra rears it's hooded head.

If anyone remembers this story, I'd be delighted to hear from them. Thanks in advance...

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Definitely not Kipling. I'm conversant with him and my favorite Raj story is "Drums of the Fore and Aft" which always brings a tear to my eye. I've most of Kipling's work.

Not Masters either. I've his autobiographical works and at least one novel. Masters served with the Ghurkas and later with the Chindits and Slim. Not a cavalryman.

Thanks for the effort.

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  • 2 years later...

The book I think you're enquiring about is The River by Rumer Godden it was written in I think 1946 and made into a film in 1951. I've attached a review of the book below, hope it helps

The grace, the fragility, associated with Rumer Godden, again most evident in this new book which is not a story (and therefore less probably popular), but rather an interlude, a pause in time as well as a play on time, in the early adolescence of a young girl. This concerns Harriet, one of several children in an English family in India, Harriet who has reached the frightening, questioning borderline between adolescence and maturity. Here are her thoughts about living and dying, about the world, about change as her older sister withdraws to an adult sphere, her little brother is killed by a cobra. Omnipresent is the sense of the irrevocability of time when ""nothing stops days, or rivers"", adding a metaphysical tone to the idyll. Frail, fugitive, this may be too tenuous for may tastes- even though she has a following.

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