“Paul Theroux has exploited this biographical lacuna with great shrewdness and gusto… his fictional account of Blair’s life there [Burma] is a valid and entirely credible attempt to add flesh to the skeletal facts we have of this time. […]this novel is one of his finest, in a long and redoubtable oeuvre.” —New York Times Book Review
From the acclaimed author of The Mosquito Coast and The Bad Angel Brothers comes a riveting new novel exploring one of English literature’s most beloved and controversial figures—George Orwell—and the early years as an officer in colonial Burma that transformed him from Eric Blair, the British Raj policeman, into Orwell the anticolonial writer.
At age nineteen, young Eton graduate Eric Blair set sail for India, dreading the assignment ahead. Along with several other young conscripts, he would be trained for three years as a servant of the British Empire, overseeing the local policemen in Burma. Navigating the social, racial, and class politics of his fellow British at the same time as he learned the local languages and struggled to control his men would prove difficult enough. But doing all of this while grappling with his own self-worth, his sense that he was not cut out for this, is soon overwhelming for the young Blair. Eventually, his clashes with his superiors, and the drama that unfolds in this hot, beautiful land, will change him forever.