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The Far Pavilions

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  38,347 ratings  ·  1,236 reviews
A magnificent romantic/historical/adventure novel set in India at the time of mutiny. The Far Pavilions is a story of 19th Century India, when the thin patina of English rule held down dangerously turbulent undercurrents. It is a story about and English man - Ashton Pelham-Martyn - brought up as a Hindu and his passionate, but dangerous love for an Indian princess. It's a ...more
Paperback, 958 pages
Published January 15th 1997 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 1978)
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Cheryl I've read all three and don't think the order matters much. Reading Shadow of the Moon might give you some interesting context for The Far Pavilions,…moreI've read all three and don't think the order matters much. Reading Shadow of the Moon might give you some interesting context for The Far Pavilions, I suppose, but they each stand on their own. Trade Wind is set on a different continent, so you could read it in any order relative to the other two.(less)
Amanda Since it's been nearly two months, I don't know if you gave up or persevered. This is one of my all-time favorite books because I've always been…moreSince it's been nearly two months, I don't know if you gave up or persevered. This is one of my all-time favorite books because I've always been interested in the history of the British Raj. I grew extremely attached to the characters and have re-read it several times over the years, hating each time to see it end. However, the pacing of the book is slow (and long). If you enjoy mysteries, Kaye wrote also wrote excellent mysteries set in exotic locales that were much shorter and faster paced.(less)

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4.21  · 
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
I've been putting off writing a review for The Far Pavilions because it's so complex and epic that I feel like I can't do it justice without writing an equally epic review. But I've put this off for too long already and so we'll all just have to be satisfied with a less impressive but more manageable review.

This story takes place in India during the mid-1800s, when the British controlled India as part of their far-flung empire. Ashton Pelham-Martyn is the son of an English professor and explorer
...more
Misfit
I can't believe I waited 25+ years to read this again! Oh well, the first copy I had I loaned out and never got back. I would give this 10 stars if I could, I had forgotten how good this book was. Thank you Amazon, for recommending books and Listmania -- so many wonderful books I would never have found or rediscovered without you! A truly wonderful story of star-crossed lovers, treachery, intrigue, heroism, honor and bigotry. The author has a great feel and understanding of India under the Briti ...more
Alex is The Romance Fox
I first read The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye when it was first published in 1978 and have since read it a few times…it’s become one of my favorite books ever.
This is an epic novel of Ashton Pelham-Martyn, an English officer, during the British Raj period in India, who falls in love with Anjuli, a half-caste Hindu princess.
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The author’s knowledge of and childhood experiences in India make this an epic and unforgettable book.

A sweeping and gripping high adventure and passionate love story, of he
...more
etherealfire
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another book that came across my feed, reminding me that I read and enjoyed this book back in early 1980 after it was released the year before. One of the many reasons I love the GR feed so much is because it helps me to add books read long ago and add them to the list! I also enjoyed the miniseries that was made of the book in the early/mid-eighties featuring Amy Irving.
Elizabeth
Jan 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Another one of my all-time favorites. I don't know how I stumbled on this book, but its worth the 955 pages (yeah really!).

What I liked best about this book is the exploration of the main characters alienation. He is neither British nor Indian, Christian, Muslim or Hindu, he's everything and nothing all at once. Actually I might recommend this book if you liked Life of Pi. Although I would say that this is a much more thorough and interesting tale.

The novel takes place in India in the late 188
...more
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
3.5★

When I finish my own review, I'm going to find & like the review where the reviewer packed it in about 160 pages from the finish. & I'm writing"like" when I mean applaud. This novel was more of an epic struggle than an enjoyable experience. 960 pages or not, I'm a fast, avid reader. No book should take me four months to read.

My reading progress really does the work of a review!

READING PROGRESS
08/21 page 42 4.0% "Instantly enthralled!"
08/25 page 97 10.0% "OK, I'm ready for Ash's chi
...more
Pinky
Some books get into your senses. They fill your nose with the scent of a people, the lick of the sun on bare skin, the brazen gossip of silk sheets, or engulfs you with a composition of shadows that hints at something beyond line of sight. M.M. Kaye is a storyteller that makes you taste India. She takes her own life experience and, like Rudyard Kipling and Frances Hodgson Burnett, draws fairy tales in the sands of Southern India while tucked in at the bed of the Himalayans.
This is not just a
...more
Cindy Newton
Aug 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book for the first time (as a teenager) was a magical experience for me. It was the first time I had ever been so deeply submerged in a book that I literally felt dazed and disoriented when it ended and I had to return to reality. They were so real for me--Ash and Juli, Wally and Zarin, Biju Ram and Hira Lal. Leaving their world--leaving India--at the end of the book was painful.

The story is about Ashton Pelham-Martyn, English by birth but born in India. He spends his childhood be
...more
Patty
Mar 26, 2014 rated it did not like it
A novel about India in the late 1800s. I've been putting off reading this book– despite it being hugely famous and people constantly asking me if I've read it– because I'm pretty sure it's going to be obnoxiously pro-colonialism. (The dedication, for instance, is to the author's husband and father-in-law, British soldiers who served in India.) But I'm not far enough into it yet to judge, so perhaps I'll be pleasantly surprised.

I was quite amused by this passage, describing a woman who died after
...more
Dorcas
Jun 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I finished it!!!!

I'm not even going to try to summarize this, enough readers have already done so and to be honest, it's so huge, so SO HUGE that I wouldn't even know where to start. Only that it's about a man born without the comfort of national borders, trying to find where he belongs in this world, and a half caste girl, a princess, who would give her life to find it with him.

I loved it. I lived it. I feel like I've died a thousand deaths over the last two weeks reading it.

If you haven't alre
...more
El
This is one of those books I've had on my shelf for... freaking-ever, but it's always just sort of been there for a rainy day. Like one of those days where you feel like reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy because you want a romping good time, but sadly, you've already read the Lord of the Rings trilogy and you're not really in the mood for the wordiness that is Tolkien anyway - you just want all the fun and adventure without all the work.

Okay, maybe I'm the only one who has waited to read thi
...more
Hana
"We go to find our Kingdom....Our own Dur Khaima--our far pavilions."



It is a big book packed with drama, great characters, romance, the thrill of battle, and adventure in faraway places, but it's also filled with thoughtful insights into national character and identity--and the complex web of cultures that defined the Indian subcontinent, the British Raj and Afghanistan in the late 19th century.

Special thanks to Diane Lynn, Tadiana and all my friends who joined in our buddy read and sharpened m
...more
Heidi The Reader
The Far Pavilions is one of my all time favorite books. I stumbled upon it in a book store because one of the employees had marked it as a must-read. I picked it up and was absolutely enthralled.

This historical fiction is reminiscent of Margaret George's books in its character development, dramatic plot line, and, clocking in at more than 900 pages, length. There are battles, romance, and palace intrigue- a little bit of everything. It's one of the few books that I've read more than once and tha
...more
Marialyce
I really liked this the first time around, but this time it dragged in places and made me ever so happy when I wrapped it up. Perhaps I have grown beyond the romantic to a book that needs to have some lesser wordiness and more relevance in the modern age. I am pretty bummed that it was not the book I so fondly remembered. Perhaps second readings are not always a good idea, especially for books you were so in love with as a young adult.
❄️Nani❄️
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
4.75 ⭐

A historical fiction the way it ought to be written.

Damn near perfect.
...more
Moonkiszt
The Far Pavilions

A story of war, race, dislocation, hubris, unrighteous dominion of humans over other humans. So many pages and hours, I thought I would dissolve into the dust that rose up around the traveling feet of this story. And, I thought I would grow weary of it and droop off into another book. But that didn’t happen. I stayed. I stayed to the very end. I hate war, war violence, war politics (READ: subjective justification), war results (limbs without bodies, rolling heads, bodies without
...more
Laura
Mar 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Laura by: Misfit
Magnificent book, telling the story of Aston and Anjuli ant the India struggle against Afghnistan.

The movie is available at You Tube. It is as good as this book, it's worth watching.
Mela
A perfect novel. It is hard to believe but through all these pages I wasn't bored, I wasn't overwhelmed, I hadn't enough.

I will try to explain why it was so marvelous but I am sure I will fail to list all reasons.

1) A fascinating historical background.

I didn't know very much about India (especially its history and culture) and Afganistan. This book was a phenomenal journey through those countries in the second half of the XIX century. What was even greater was that not only big events were true
...more
Shelli
I liked it. I didn't love it. After investing the time in this 960 page book, I admit I am somewhat disappointed. I really wanted to love it. I guess I was expecting an exciting adventure mixed with a beautiful love story. I got a long dry trip across the desert, a war story and a love story with very little romance. I did learn a lot from this story and I always appreciate that from a book. I learned about the culture of India and the caste system. I also learned about the second Afghan-Indian ...more
Emily
May 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: alltimefavorites
Reading this book was quite possibly the only good thing that happened to me in the year 1995. I've since re-read it in its entireity another four or five times, and skimmed through it and picked out my favorite passages at least a dozen times. It's a beautiful "sweeping epic" set in British colonial India, the story of "Ash", who spends the first part of his life believing he's the son of a Hindu serving woman in the palace of a rajah and is himself enlisted as a personal servant/favorite playm ...more
Amy
Jul 11, 2011 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one
Wow, it seems as if I'm the only person who disliked the book. I was excited to read it, and only finished for my book club (yes, I do take one for the team now and then). For me it had several flaws and was painful to finish.

1. The narrative's flow is disappointing, things happen and then you're on to the next event with little transition, which made the piece feel rushed in that sense.
2. The detail that drowns you into boredom. She describes some things to the point of ad nauseum, but then do
...more
Diane Lynn
Buddy read with Hana, Tadiana, Kathy and Felicia in July 2014.

This was my third reading and it's still a favorite. Usually with a reread I tend to skip over some parts but not so with this one. I wanted to read every single word because this is such a wonderful story. I may have read more carefully because it was a buddy read, or maybe I just get more out of the books I read since joining GR, whatever the reason, this third reading was the best ever. I would refer anyone interested to the group
...more
Bettie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nik Morton
Oct 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
First published in 1978, this monumental epic sold -million in hardback alone; paperback sales, especially after the TV series, soared. Justifiably. Though written in a completely different style, I feel it can be set alongside Paul Scott’s magisterial Raj Quartet. Set in India during the time of the British Raj, The Far Pavilions tells the story of Englishman Ashton Pelham-Martyn from birth in the 1850s, through the Indian Mutiny until the Second Afghan War, 1879.

Due to its scale, the story has
...more
A.R. Simmons
Aug 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It has been some time since I read this wonderful book. As I recall M.M. Kaye lived in India and had a deep love of the subcontinent’s people. Today I am reading Kipling's Kim. I remember the leading character in Kaye's book as similar to Kim. The Far Pavilions is a saga (it's quite large) set in India during the Raj. It is sympathetic to British and their loyal subjects (sympathizers?), and presents an enlightening contrast to Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. I recommend The Far Pavilions to ...more
Felicia J.
Jul 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took nearly 5 months, but I have finally finished this epic tale of star-crossed lovers searching for a place to belong, set amid the political intrigues, cruelties and hubris of the British Raj. At almost 49 hours, it's by far the longest audiobook I've yet tackled. Narrator Vikas Adam was an expert guide, and much of the story had me utterly captivated. But this novel had a couple of glaring flaws that kept me from giving it 5 stars (although, in the end, it did seem to add up to more than ...more
Deborah Blair
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who like Historical Romances and/or want a taste of India and Afghanistan of the 1800's
Recommended to Deborah by: Afghan Refugees
Shelves: fiction
This is a wonderful book. A real epic novel of war and romance, it has been called a "Gone with the Wind" set in India and Afghanistan. It is a long adventure that weaves through many of the small "kingdoms" that made up India during the 1800's and the time of Britain's attempted hold on the country and its forays into trying to take over and hold Afghanistan.

M.M. Kaye, the writer, knew the landscape and territory she wrote about well because her father was a decorated, "Guide," in the British
...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: Gerri, The Idiot's Guid to the Ultimate Reading List
You know that kind of novel where you turn to page one, and hours later blink and look down to find hundreds of pages went by? This is that kind of novel. Kaye was born, raised, and spent her early married life in India, and she and her husband came from a long line of British officers that served the British Raj. In fact, given the dedication, Walter Hamilton, a character in the novel, was related to her husband. So she certainly has the credentials to bring the India of the Raj to life, nor is ...more
Kim
Jun 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-lit
This is the best epic novel I ever read. It's an historical adventure/romance that takes place in colonial India. The book starts out when the protagonist, a young English boy named Ash is orphaned because of a cholera outbreak. He is then raised by an Indian nursemaid. Later as a young man he falls in love with a young woman, Anjuli, who has been promised to marry an elderly wealthy nobleman against her will. Her wicked stepmother selected the old man out of spite knowing he would die soon. Cus ...more
Christine
I brought this audio edition with a monthly credit. (I succumbed after looking at all the cool narrators. Very good so far, this book aside).

I have no problems with the narrator, Vikras Adam is very good. I'm not sure if this book works best in audio form, however. GR friends whose reviews and opinions I respect greatly love this book, and for that reason alone I will give this a try in print version. But Ash is annoying me and I find some of the description to be rather repeatitive. Will try pr
...more
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M. M. Kaye (Mary Margaret) was born in India and spent her early childhood and much of her early-married life there. Her family ties with the country are strong: her grandfather, father, brother and husband all served the British Raj. After India's independence, her husband, Major-General Goff Hamilton of Queen Victoria's Own Corps of Guides (the famous Indian Army regiment featured in The Far Pav ...more
“They rode out together from the shadows of the trees, leaving the Bala Hissar and the glowing torch of the burning Residency behind them, and spurred away across the flat lands towards the mountains...
And it may even be that they found their Kingdom.”
17 likes
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer: let him step to the music that he hears.” 13 likes
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