Of Mutinies and Monsoons
I knew that I wanted to write a story set during the Revolt. I just wasn't sure how to approach it. When I decided to set part of the first 'Endersley Paper's story in India during the uprising, the first thing I had to do was search for some reliable sources, then decide where I was going to set it. A lot of accounts deal with the Siege of Lucknow and there are several very good books which would've provided this author some great research material, but that particular siege was also at the heart of one of my favourite novels of all time, 'Zemindar', by Valerie Fitzgerald. I decided that I didn't want to revisit Lucknow, knowing that I could never do it justice. By happy accident, I stumbled on an account which included the Siege of Agra - 'A Lady's Escape from Gwalior and Life in the Fort of Agra during the Mutinies of 1857' by R M Coopland. Dear Mrs Coopland had accompanied her husband, Reverend Coopland to India, to the town of Gwalior. Unfortunately, her husband was killed when the troops mutinied and she was forced to flee, with others, to Agra, where they took refuge in the Red Fort.
Mrs Coopland's account of the siege provides those little everyday details that I crave: What they ate, where they slept, where they lived, what they did to pass the time. Admittedly, Mrs Coopland was less than charitable towards the locals, good and bad, but if I overlooked her obvious prejudices, her story was just what I needed. Armed with that information, all I had to do was to throw my characters, Jacob and Marcus into the fray. The events surrounding the Siege of Agra were far less dramatic and prolonged as the Siege of Lucknow, but I'm hoping that I did the characters and the events justice.
The trickiest part, though, was taking the story back to Victorian England. How can two men who love each other expect a Happily Ever After at a time when the Sodomy Law forbade such a relationship? Well, if you want to find out what happened, you'll have to read the book!
You can find it here: Lord of Endersley