REVIEW: Enemy of the Raj by Alec Marsh (Drabble & Harris #2)

Series: Drabble & Harris

Book Number: 2

Read this book for: UK mystery, India mystery, adventure thriller, historical fiction, thriller, amateur investigators

Quick Review: A fun adventure thriller with the added bonus of a sumptuous, detailed and unique setting in India in the late 1930s.  

India, 1937. Intrepid reporter Sir Percival Harris is hunting tigers with his friend, Professor Ernest Drabble. Harris soon bags a man-eater – but later finds himself caught up in a hunt of a different kind…

Harris is due to interview the Maharaja of Bikaner, a friend to the Raj, for his London newspaper – and he and Drabble soon find themselves accompanied by a local journalist, Miss Heinz. But is the lady all she seems? And the Maharaja himself is proving elusive…

Meanwhile, the movement for Indian independence is becoming stronger, and Drabble and Harris witness some of the conflict first-hand. But even more drama comes on arrival at Bikaner when the friends find themselves confined to their quarters… and embroiled in an assassination plot!

Just who is the enemy in the Maharaja’s palace? What is the connection to a mysterious man Drabble meets in Delhi? And what secret plans do the British colonial officers have up their sleeves? 

ENEMY OF THE RAJ is the newest novel from Alec Marsh, which takes Drabble & Harris – a pair of unlikely English heroes – to India that takes them from tiger hunts to attempting to foil assassination plots.  

This is the second novel in the Drabble & Harris series, which is a historical series of adventure thrillers starring an unlikely duo of British history professor and journalist. Check out the review for RULE BRITANNIA, the first novel in the series, to learn more about this English Indiana Jones.  

One of the immense strengths of this novel is the contrast between Drabble — intelligent, driven, physically capable — and Harris, who is a bit hopeless and hedonistic in a very Wodehouse way. It allows Marsh to tell the story from two very different angles, and it’s fascinating to watch how Marsh weaves the two very different threads and experiences together.  

The mystery in itself is not overly complicated, but is incredibly action-packed. A tiger hunt, car chases, bomb plots, physical fights are all found in abundance… this is an adventure thriller to its core. It is also a lot of fun, and sumptuously steeped in the details of dress and atmosphere of the period. 

Marsh’s choice of sending Drabble and Harris to India for this instalment is a refreshing one. Like the previous novel, he explores some of the political tensions and complications of the time, but without bogging the piece down in too much detail. It’s lightly educational, and the setting adds an exciting new element that is not often seen in novels of this type. 

If you are a fan of historical fiction, or fun adventure novels, ENEMY OF THE RAJ is definitely one to pick up! 

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