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The Raj Quartet: The Jewel in the Crown, The Day of the Scorpion, The Towers of Silence & A Division of the Spoils

A BBC Radio 4 Full-Cast Dramatisation
Length: 8 hrs and 32 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

An epic full-cast dramatisation of Paul Scott’s classic series of novels charting the last days of the British Raj.

Spanning the years from 1942 to 1947, this landmark saga explores the relationships between an array of soldiers and civilians stationed in India as the sun sets on British colonial rule.

As The Jewel in the Crown opens, World War II is at its height, and Gandhi is calling for the British to leave. When Daphne Manners arrives in Mayapore, she meets two men who will change her life: Hari Kumar and Ronald Merrick. She begins to fall for Hari, but Ronald Merrick - the local police superintendent - becomes infatuated with her and seethes with hatred for Hari.

The Day of the Scorpion finds Merrick worming his way into the Layton family, and his treatment of Hari Kumar is revealed. In The Towers of Silence, it is summer 1945, and as the war ends Mabel Layton’s companion Barbie Batchelor is forced to leave her home in Pankot. In A Division of the Spoils, Sergeant Guy Perron arrives to witness India’s independence while the Laytons plan for their future - but the division of the country will spark tragic consequences for many.

The extensive, star-studded cast includes Anna Maxwell Martin (Bleak House, Motherland), Prasanna Puwanarajah (Doctor Foster), Geraldine James (who also starred in the film of The Jewel in the Crown), Mark Bazeley (Broadchurch), Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock), Kulvinder Ghir (Goodness Gracious Me) and Nina Wadia (EastEnders).

Dramatised by John Harvey (The Jewel in the Crown, The Day of the Scorpion, The Towers of Silence) and Shelley Silas (A Division of the Spoils).

Produced and directed by Sally Avens (The Jewel in the Crown, A Division of the Spoils) and Jeremy Mortimer (The Day of the Scorpion, The Towers of Silence).

Music by Raiomond Mirza.

©2018 BBC Worldwide Ltd (P)2018 BBC Worldwide Ltd

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  • kayakman
  • 02-05-2019

Excellent performances

Of course it's impossible to include entire story and all characters in this drama, but at times hard to listen to as it kept all the violence but ittle or none of the humor which made Guy's character so likeable. Also not enough of Hari's thoughts and work as a writer until very last minute. Interesting that Geraldine James plays the cold mother rather than daughter Sarah this time. Jeremy Northam is always a good actor but really too old here for the role of Guy (and sounds it).

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  • Zachary
  • 12-02-2019

The abridged version

Dramatization of novel means it's abridged. And not just one book abridged, but all four novels. The cast was great except when they were talking low or in whispers, the audio needs to be adjusted because you can't hear them.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Stuart Carruthers
  • 20-04-2020

Excellent story

A superb story, acting and direction. Do yourself a favor and listen to it today.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon shopper.
  • 01-03-2020

Good but not great.

Enjoyable, Nothing spectacular in the story. Performances were really good. The music between chapters/scenes was awful. I would say this title was enjoyable overall.

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  • Jorden Collins
  • 17-04-2019

So PC it makes PC enthusiasts gag

This is such a heavy handed, overly produced pile of retread bore of a script. Such a waste of a credit. Every western man is a pig and every local man is a prince.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Highlight
  • 18-05-2019

EXCELLENT PRODUCTION

I have the DVD set of the TV series and this production is just as good. Great radio interpretation full of atmosphere as though we are taken back into the time of India in the era of the Raj. Recommend.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Scribbler@10
  • 16-02-2019

Excellent audible experience

A superb story. Sound quality and stage direction made this a thoroughly compelling listening experience.

4 people found this helpful

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  • D Blevins
  • 01-11-2019

Excellent Human Insight into the complexities of the British relationship with India just before independence

I loved the ITV series and thoroughly enjoyed revisiting through this audio book. Helps to be familiar with the series or books as so many different characters. Really first class casting and performances. No negatives

3 people found this helpful

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  • xenia watson
  • 24-01-2019

cut too short, enjoyed story

too short, enjoyed story but so much was cut. can't complain about any other part

3 people found this helpful

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  • Christine Weatwood
  • 25-02-2020

Incredibly well done!!

Its a book I know well. It covers some of the aspects of both partition and the independence of India by using fictitious characters and families.

I was slightly unsure if I would enjoy it as its had to be cut to only 8 hours yet it was so well done I listened to it basically in one go.

The cast did a brilliant job. The story captured the essence of the book so well. It starts well, it ends well and in between I found yet again I was crying as the cast and script writers were so good they were able to produce that feeling of 'knowing' and caring (with some sadness at some of the injustices) about the characters and the Indians set in this period of history.

If you know the book and like me are slightly worried it has been so abridged don't let it put you off. Though there is so much missing it leaves nothing major out.

If you don't know the book its a fictional story set in true historical times, it covers from around 1941 through to 1947 when India divided into two counties and both got their Independence. Its a very powerful story.

It doesn't shy away from the problems of separation. and for me the book felt 'real' but this cast did it so well it also brought them all to life so well.

This audio book really is incredibly well done.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • C M T
  • 06-12-2019

Beautifully performed

This is a great listen. All four books compressed into a few hours, but the characters retain their integrity and depth. Such a beautiful but haunting story. Well worth a listen if you don't have time for the unabridged audio books. Really good performances all round. This story will stay with me. Thoroughly recommend.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mr. R. Jarmain
  • 30-05-2019

Absolutely superb.

This is one of the best audio presentations I have ever heard. The atmospheric production and the faultless performances could not be improved upon. Simply superb.

2 people found this helpful

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  • K. Sewell
  • 10-03-2020

Enjoyed every minute

Wonderful dramatization. Well done BBC Radio4.
Interesting stories, taking us out from our day to day life to experience another time and culture.

1 person found this helpful