Into the Hidden Valley: A Novel
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“As the British Raj begins its expansion towards Tibet, the remote Apatani valley on the Indo-Tibetan border becomes a flashpoint. George Taylor, an up-and-coming officer in the Indian Civil Service, leads the first expedition into the valley and recommends setting
up a base nearby, as the Apatanis are a ‘friendly tribe’. During the expedition, a tenuous bond is established between him and Gyati,
the Apatani shaman who has long been anxious about the halyang outsiders creeping closer and closer to the ordered world of the valley. But this bond cannot survive. The increased British presence and
their arrogance towards the hill tribes causes resentment; the tension escalates until it culminates in an act that has tragic consequences for both men, and for their sons, Charles and Komo.
Stuart Blackburn vividly brings alive the Apatani worlds: the seen one, perfectly fitted into its valley, with people linked to the land and each other through bonds of reciprocity and tradition, as well as the spirit world, into which shamans enter to invite blessings and navigate the souls of their dead safely to rest. His exploration of what happens when this settled civilization forcibly collides with British Empire-builders sensitively portrays the impact of the forces of colonialism on both sides?and gives readers a nail-biting mystery to solve.”
"Stuart Blackburn first travelled to India in 1970 as a Peace Corps volunteer. He received his PhD from Berkeley in 1980 and taught at SOAS in London for many years, with visiting professorships at Heidelberg, Berlin and back at Berkeley. He is the author or editor of more than a dozen books on oral tradition, culture and literature, mainly in South India but also in Northeast India, where Into the Hidden Valley is set. His first novel, Murder in Melur, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife in Brighton, England. "