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The Day Of The Scorpion (The Raj Quartet #2)

4.3 of 5 stars 4.30  ·  rating details  ·  912 ratings  ·  53 reviews
In The Day of the Scorpion, Scott draws us deeper in to his epic of India at the close of World War II. With force and subtlety, he recreates both private ambition and perversity, and the politics of an entire subcontinent at a turning point in history.

As the scorpian, encircled by a ring of fire, will sting itself to death, so does the British raj hasten its own destruct
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Paperback, 495 pages
Published 1983 by Granada (first published 1968)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,670)
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Kressel Housman
After I finished The Jewel in the Crown, my mother, who adores the Raj Quartet, was amazed that I didn’t immediately ask to borrow the next in the series. “Aren’t you curious about the characters?” she asked. She doesn’t understand the allure of a group read. I was perfectly content to postpone the pleasure of the next book until I’d get the even greater pleasure of dozens if not hundreds of Goodreaders to read and discuss the book with me.

But aside from that, The Jewel in the Crown works ver
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Philip
Just as history can’t be undone, innocence, once lost, can’t be retrieved. If history would allow, I would dearly love to read Paul Scott’s The Day Of The Scorpion without having first read The Jewel In The Crown. Scorpion is very much a continuation of the Crown and I am not convinced that a reader coming cold to the book as a stand-alone work would cope with the multiple references to what came before. Like the characters in Paul Scott’s novels, I can’t undo history and can only thus reflect o ...more
Sarah Harkness
Jul 13, 2011 Sarah Harkness rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sarah by: my parents?
In some ways, an easier book to read than the Jewel in the Crown, as the narrative is more straightforward, with one principal protagonist, Sarah Layton. Still very dense with backstories and political insight, and a whole cast of fabulous new characters - Bronowski, Barbie, the poisonous Mildred, the tragic Susan - the slightly less-well-drawn Ahmed...there are dialogues that bear very close reading - for instance Jimmy Clark's seduction of Sarah - and there are plots almost too dense to deciph ...more
John
This book was a true paradox for me. On the one hand Scott lays out a compelling plot. This was one of those books that I could not wait to get back to reading during my lunch break or on the bus. On the other hand, however, Scott's style is extremely hard going. He has a predilection for very long sentences and his constant use of dangling prepositions is at best inelegant. Nothwithstanding, the book is certainly worth a read for the portrayal of a way of life that no longer exists.
Hana
Review in Progress

I finished this one in the wee hours of the morning. And sat staring at the last page with my hands over my mouth, stunned. I felt it had all happened to me. Just happened.

I will defer my detailed review until I have re-read this extraordinary book along with the HBC, and I'll be posting thoughts from time to time here. If you are thinking of reading this, the group read is only just getting started.

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/group...

Jill Hutchinson
This second book of the Raj Quartet continues the story of those English men and women who live in India during WWII. Much is happening in India at this time besides the war as the indigenous population is chaffing for independence. Gandhi has been imprisoned as well as member of the Indian Congress and unrest, although somewhat subtle at this point, is stirring

In this installment, we follow the lives of Sarah and Susan Layton, two young women whose father is a POW in Germany. These sisters cou
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Kathleen Hagen
The Day of the Scorpion, by Paul Scott. Book 2 of the Raj Quartet. B-plus. Cassette book borrowed from the Library for the Blind.
In my opinion not as good as The Jewel in the Crown. This book is dated immediately after the first one. At the beginning of the book, Harry is still imprisoned allegedly for the rape and assault of Daphne Manners. The best section of this book was the interview he had with a policeman about what happened, why he was arrested, and Merrick’s part in the whole affair and
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Kristen
While the first novel of the Raj Quartet focused on a particular incident -- the rape of a British woman in India -- the second part takes the story into a broader social and political context. The characters must deal with the realization that, while they are no longer welcome in India, they also have become alienated from British society at home. Plotwise, this novel is all about subtle emotional encounters. No one says anything outright and the reader must interpret the book's many long conve ...more
Annmbray
WOW! An intense book. Had to scrape myself off the floor at the ending. Really looking forward to Part III. Fascinating to see how much effort was made by the Brits and some of the Indians to keep the decaying system in place. Also, never realized that there were Indians who fought alongside the Japanese against the Brits and Burmese! Great descriptions of a truly incredible country! All this interwoven against the story of the rape of Miss Manners in the Bibighar Gardens that was the central st ...more
David Guy
I have finished this second volume of the Raj Quartet, and I'm now really hooked; this is an astounding series of books. At first this second volume seemed to be about a completely different group of characters and incidents than the first, but then the various elements of the first novel began to creep back. I'm sorry I used the word verbose in talking about the first volume; I think I'd now use the word expansive, in the sense that it might be used for many great writers. Scott gets into an im ...more
David
Almost as enjoyable as The Jewel in the Crown, 'The Day of the Scorpion' moves the reader to a new set of characters - the Laytons and their circle - in new locations - Mirat, Ranpur and Pankot - but is still closely linked to the preceding book with Merrick and Kumar both returning and the events of August 1942 still reverberating. What I think I am enjoying most about Scott's writing is the psychological depth he brings to each of his characters: even when they are representing a 'type' they a ...more
Susan
Liked even more than The Jewel in the Crown.
Judy
The second book in this series has proven to be just as layered as the first book, The Raj Quartet (1) The Jewel in the Crown, The Day of the Scorpion by Paul Scott The Jewel in the Crown. The characters are so well developed and involving and I found myself "living" the novel in my head throughout reading it, a sure sign (to me) of a great book.

About a quarter of this book is told through the interrogation of Hari Kumar, a character from the first book, and I thought it was a masterful example of using the perspectives of at least 3 different characters to play out the un
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Samantha Marshall
Volume 2 examines how a group of mostly new characters are indirectly affected by the events in Volume 1 while continuing to address the same issues of British identity at the end of the raj in India.
Brent Hayward
Harry C., central figure in the first of the Raj Quartet books (which are set in India during the British Occupation) is an Indian-born man, raised in England, returning to his father’s county only to have his life promptly unravel (as he knew it would). In this book, the second of the quartet, among several new characters, are introduced two white sisters, born and raised in India to British parents, both of whom feel more comfortable on India’s troubled soil. Through shifts like this, the angl ...more
Martin Zook
The second volume of Paul Scott's Raj Quartet shifts focus more exclusively onto the deteriorating British Raj administration in contrast to the opening volume which invested more attention to the insights, perspectives, and myths of Indians during the birthing of their state.

The artistic peaks of The Jewel in the Crown are sacrificed to a tighter focus and more linear narrative in The Day of the Scorpion. But what emerges is a more accessible book and more linear story that doubtlessly has a wi
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Ian
The second book of the Raj Quartet, which I am getting round to reading much more slowly than I had expected. But then these are not books to read quickly. The Day Of The Scorpion is not a direct sequel to The Jewel In The Crown, although it story does follow on from the first book of the quartet – but with a different cast. This book is set in the garrison town of Pankot and the independent satrapy of Mirat. It opens with a link to The Jewel In The Crown when Sarah Layton meets Lady Manners, mo ...more
Jason Fernandes
In India, in 1943, a groom and his best man are travelling to the wedding ceremony when a rock is hurled at their limousine. A window is shattered and the groom, Teddie, has a cut on his cheek. He is quickly patched up and the rest of the day goes on, almost without incident. But the mystery remains.

What prompted this act of violence? Was it simply the random act of some misfit? Could it be due to the fact that both men are English and the perpetrator was some individual, committed to the cause
...more
William Leight
I quite liked The Day of the Scorpion, although I preferred The Jewel in the Crown, the first book in the Raj Quartet. The Jewel in the Crown concentrates on the events surrounding a single incident, a rape, as they are perceived by various characters with different viewpoints and levels of involvement. This gives it a sense of continuity which The Day of the Scorpion lacks: although the original rape has consequences in The Day of the Scorpion as well, and several characters from The Jewel in t ...more
Eleanor
The Jewel in the Crown (number 1 in the series) was a good book but a frustrating one. With sentences that could ramble on for half a page, Paul Scott seemed to take several hundred pages more than he strictly needed to say some interesting and thought provoking things about the nature of colonialism generally, its impacts on colonisers and colonised and the British experience of India (and vice versa) specifically. I'm glad I read that book but found it a bit of a slog, so felt compelled but no ...more
itpdx
This wonderful historical fiction is the second book in Scott's Raj Quartet. It is set in India during WWII. Again Scott presents interesting characters including Britons who are in the third generation in India who are beginning to see the end of British domination and don't understand where they belong, and Indians involved in various factions of the liberation movement, radicals and conservatives, Hindu and Moslem. Scott skillfully weaves in information from the first book so that you do not ...more
Michael
Miraculously, even less happens in this book than in its predecessor. I think it suffers from being an incomplete story in the face of following a rather complete story before it. I'm excited to see what follows, though, as this book too contained (amongst pages of admitted dreariness) the same witty, insightful narrative that made the first book so captivating.
Trawets
The Day of the Scorpion is the second book in Paul Scott's Raj quartet.
I haven't read the first book Jewel in the Crown, but had seen a TV adaptation many years ago, however I think it wouldn't be necessary to have previous knowledge of the main characters.
The novel explores themes of colonialism, race, class and betrayal. Set in India between 1942 and 1944, the British are fighting a desperate war against the Japanese, but at the same time facing increasing opposition to their rule from the loc
...more
Tariq Mahmood
Paul Scott gets the British Indians like no other writer in my opinion. In this second masterpiece Paul further explores the complex tripartite relationship between the British in mainland, British in India and the Anglicised Indians of India. The world that comes out of the many interrelated stories is passionate, idealistic, racial and exciting. I got to know how the British were able to rule India and got an understanding of the Indian struggle for Independence from a British Indian point of ...more
Deepti
The fact that I finished this book within a week shows that Paul Scott is a brilliant, gripping writer if you're willing to wade through loads of context first. I just can't put it down. Raj fiction CAN be interesting and inspiring! In this novel, his eye for characterisation came into full form. I imagine this would be a wonderful series to examine the interpersonal relations between the British and the Indians - rubbing shoulders as comrades and colleagues, friends and lovers. In addition to t ...more
Elizabeth Kelly
The way the book starts out it seems as if the story is going to be very similar to the first book (Jewel in The Crown) but it isn't - just as well written but from a slightly different angle. there are two huge sections (about 75 pages each) of conversation between 2 people (one where Hari Kumar is interviewed the other a conversation between Sarah and Merrick regarding how he was wounded) - which could be very boring but as the book is so well written they are quite engrossing. Can't wait to r ...more
Neill Goltz
See review of "The Jewel in the Crown"
Jean Hontz
truly wonderful series
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3119
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Paul Scott was born in London in 1920. He served in the army from 1940 to 1946, mainly in India and Malaya. He is the author of thirteen distinguished novels including his famous The Raj Quartet. In 1977, Staying On won the Booker Prize. Paul Scott died in 1978.
More about Paul Scott...

Other Books in the Series

The Raj Quartet (4 books)
  • The Jewel in the Crown (The Raj Quartet, #1)
  • The Towers of Silence (The Raj Quartet, #3)
  • A Division of the Spoils (The Raj Quartet, #4)
The Jewel in the Crown (The Raj Quartet, #1) Staying On The Towers of Silence (The Raj Quartet, #3) A Division of the Spoils (The Raj Quartet, #4) The Raj Quartet

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“Speak what is in your mind,’ Pandit Baba commanded. What insolence, Ahmed thought. There are two categories of things in my mind, he should say, the stuff people like you have fed into it and my own reactions to that stuff. The result is cancellation, so I have nothing in my mind.” 0 likes
“The writer encountered a Muslim woman once in a narrow street of a predominantly Hindu town, in the quarter inhabited by moneylenders. The feeling he had was that she was coming in search of a loan. She wore the burkha, that unhygienic head-to-toe covering that turns a woman into a walking symbol of inefficient civic refuse collection and leaves you without even an impression of her eyes behind the slits she watches the gay world through, tempted but not tempting; a garment in all probability inflaming to her passions but chilling to her expectations of having them satisfied. Pity her for the titillation she must suffer. After she had passed there was a smell of Chanel No. 5, which suggested that she needed money because she liked expensive things. Perhaps she had a rebellious spirit, or laboured under a confusion of ideas and intentions. On the other hand she may merely have been submissive to her husband, drenching herself for his private delight with a scent she did not realize was also one of public invitation – and passed that day through the street of the moneylenders only because it was a short cut to the mosque. It was a Friday, and it is written in the Koran: ‘Believers, when the call is made for prayer on Friday, hasten to the remembrance of Allah and leave off all business. That would be best for you, if you but knew it. Then, when the prayers are ended, disperse and go in quest of Allah’s bounty.’ Perhaps, when the service was over, it was her intention to return by the way she had come.” 0 likes
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