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The Damascened Blade (Joe Sandilands, #3)
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The Damascened Blade (Joe Sandilands #3)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  920 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
In her acclaimed mysteries set in the age of the British Raj, Barbara Cleverly brilliantly captures a fascinating collision of cultures against a backdrop of jasmine-scented nights and neatly trimmed English gardens. In her gripping new novel, the author of The Last Kashmiri Rose and Ragtime in Simla transports us to the remote and exotic setting of India’s North-West Fron ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by Delta (first published September 15th 2003)
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Tea Jovanović
May 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I onda se promenio urednik u Laguni i zanemario sve što je ranije rađeno... i što su čitaoci zavoleli... :(
Barbara Cleverly – 3rd in series (UK release)
On a break from his policing duties, Joe Sandilands is visiting his old army friend, James Lindsay, commander of the British army's front line fort at Gor Khatri on the Afghan border. An uneasy peace is in operation, but into this situation is injected an ill-assorted group of visitors to the fort.

Although it helps to have read the first two books in the series to understand Joe, the other characters are interesting and well
Madhulika Liddle
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
Barbara Cleverly’s Scotland Yard detective Joe Sandilands’s third outing takes him to beyond Peshawar, to a fort called Gor near the Khyber Pass. It is 1922, and the garrison at Gor Khatri, commanded by Sandilands’s old friend, James Lindsay, finds itself having to play host to a number of important guests: a high-ranking bureaucrat in favour of pulling back from the North-West Frontier and letting the fierce tribes of that region alone; a senior Airforce officer, equally hell-bent on using air ...more
John Mosman
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another mystery in the British Raj, this time in India's Northwest. A murder in a British fort on the frontier of a local Pathan leader adds interesting history to a drawing room mystery, only played out with tribal leaders, revenge and a sparse peace. I am enjoying the series along with the history involved.
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found this a bit of a slog...the plot was drowned out by the research and sort of lost its moral compass...she has written better!
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any mystery lover
Terrific series! Always exciting plot and interesting characters and well worth reading for any mystery fan.
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I just love reading all about Simla in the 1920's and Joe Sandilands' escapades. Barbara brings the era to life in such a colourful way.
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
A fun, easy, read. Classic detective novel "who done it" sort of thing set in a n exotic historical setting.

It's simple enough so that you think you've actually got it figured it, but complicated enough so that you actually haven't.

....and being part of the "Joe Sandilands" mystery series, you get some return characters.

Good for what it forewarned. the middle part of the book loses a bit of steam, but the story rallies.
Mary Ronan Drew
Apr 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Great Game, the Khyber Pass, Pathan tribes, hot sun, dust, sudden death – the romance of the Northwest Frontier of India in the ‘20s – we must be reading another Barbara Cleverly Joe Sandilands mystery. We are, and this one is a humdinger.

Once again Joe, vacationing with an old friend who is commander of a fort near the Afghan border, finds himself with a young woman on his hands, this time an American heiress who wants to see the “real” India. She gets her wish when she is kidnapped by a Pa
More like 3 1/2. The plot got really bogged down in the middle part, if not for that it would have earn 4 stars.

The women characters were really well done. From Betty, the officer's wife, competent and bright (pregnant too) to Grace, the elderly doctor on a mission to Lily, the young American free spirit. Even secondary women characters with only cameo, I'm thinking about the Australian gypsy and the young chief's wife were bright lights in this novel. It's rare that you get so many strong, com
Aug 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
I found this, the third in the India series by Cleverly, more difficult to navigate at first. I kept thinking that it was not up to the first two novels. However, Cleverly comes through after she sets the historical context for the rest of the book, and it was her best to date. Sandilands is still in India -- and no mention as to why since her first novel indicates that he is "on loan" and about to return to England. Of course, Cleverly has to keep him in India because that is where the series i ...more
Mar 26, 2012 rated it liked it
The Damascened Blade is the third book in the series set in the age of the British Raj. In this novel, Scotland Yard Detective Joe Sandilands is responsible for the guarding of a young American woman in India's North-West Frontier. "Lily Coblenz, accompanied by a cunning businessman, a woman doctor, and two quarreling military strategists, expects the adventure of a lifetime when she arrives at a remote British outpost.

When the son of a Pathan tribal leader is discovered dead, Sandilands knows
I have enjoyed the first couple books in this series, set in 1922 India during the heyday of the British Raj. This one was okay, but I found it to be a bit predictable after the first two, having many similar elements. Joe Sandilands, former military man and Scotland Yard detective, essentially asked to babysit a rich young American woman who is a bit too adventurous and wants to experience the 'wild and uncivilized life' of the real India. Of course things go awry with murder, and then Lily Cob ...more
Feb 28, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joe Sandilands is spending a few days of leave with his old army friend, James Lindsay, commander of the front line fort at Gor Khatri, near the Afghan border in India. He is given the assignment to safeguard Lily, the daughter of a rich American who wishes to see the border region. Arriving at the fort with Lily is Grace, an older doctor who will be escorted to Afganistan, and Betty, the commander's pregnant wife. The two leaders of the Afghan escort are invited to stay inside the fort while th ...more
Val Sanford
Jan 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
In the shadow of Khyber Pass an unusual gathering descends on a military outpost manned by a brigade of Royal Scots Fusiliers; a young American heiress, a British industrialist, a woman doctor and the son of the most powerful warlord in the region. An uneasy truce between Britain Empire of India and the Afghan tribes is threatened by an unexplained and violent death. Russia, Afghanistan, Great Britain and America are all vying for control of this northern frontier in 1922 as they have been for t ...more
Jul 23, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: nobody
I'm still reading this book -- it's rather slow going, but I plod on. I was not aware that this was the third in a series, and I'm not sure that getting to know the main character, Joe Sandilands, in the first two books would make a difference in my enjoyment level of this book.

I get the sense that it's an elaborate game of Clue, only set in the desert. There are a tidy number of simply described characters...I have not identified with or begun to care for any one of them in particular. I still
Shelley Fearn
I'm up to #3 in Cleverly's her mystery series featuring Joe Sandilands of Scotland Yard after reading several of the later entries out of order. (The fact that this doesn't matter is one of the great things about the series.)

Sandilands is still in India in the 1920s. While tasked with keeping a visiting American heiress safe on the British outpost on the Afghanistan border in the northwest frontier. The son of a Parhan tribal chief is found murdered while visiting the fort. Sandilands, a hero of
Aug 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
If only President Bush had read this book! Set on the frontier of the British Raj in 1922, the plot concerns the murder of an Afghani prince and a double kidnapping. But the details of Pashtun and Afriki and Malik rivalries, the fierceness of both the landscape and the people, are the real page turners. Joe Sandilands cracks the case again, this time with the help of a resourceful American debutante who is handy with a gun. As Cleverly has one of her British characters say: "Bad country for huma ...more
Tamora Pierce
Sep 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
A mystery set in northwest India, near Afghanistan, when Cleverly's detective hero Joe Sandilands is escorting a lively American heiress who wants to see something more exciting than the staid British enclaves she has been to up until now. She gets her wish as murder and kidnapping liven her visit considerably, pitching Joe into the middle of an international incident that could result in war with the uneasy Afghan tribes. Not my favorite of the four Indian Sandilands books, but still an interes ...more
Mar 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this outing, Joe Sandilands is tasked with babysitting a headstrong American girl who wants to see more of the read India, i.e., the danger zones. Joe is instructed to take her to a frontier outpost on the very edge of the Empire. There, a cast of characters are assemble for a feast. There are politicos, wives, doctors, Afridis, Scouts, and representatives of several local tribes. When the son of a tribal chief is found dead, Joe must get to the bottom of it quickly before the fragile peace i ...more
Ovo je treća knjiga Barbare Cleverly koju sam pročitala i Joe Sandilands mi nije postao ni draži ni zanimljiviji. Ni hladan ni vruć, reklo bi se. Radnja se opet odvija u Indiji i malo mi je već postalo zamorno to neprestano spominjanje krvne osvete i prikazivanje domaćih stanovnika kao čudaka. Još me dodatno naživciralo što se nekoliko puta navodi da se ne zna tko je kriv za sukobe u Indiji: domaće stanovništvo ili britanski okupatori? I da, kad čitam krimić, ne volim baš sto stranica čekati da ...more
Kathy Moberg
Jun 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Joe Sandlilands finds himself in a British fort located in the border region of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan in the 1920's. Mix in several more Brits (including a female physician), an American heiress, and a number of tribesmen, differing moral views and a horrific incident from the past, and it's a very exciting page-turner. I was fascinated by the culture clash and politics of the era, as well as insights into the British military of the time. So much of this carries over to this day. I re ...more
Sally Atwell Williams
This was my first Barbara Cleverly book. I enjoyed it very much. It surrounded the north-west region of India, back when the British still "ran" India. It is about the clash of cultures in that area, and relationships of individuals living within and without the fort, and the forces that can easily erupt in the regions at any time. The secrets that were hidden away by just a few people, of past events, kept me wondering who did what and when. The reader is slowly included in the mystery. It kept ...more
May 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
What initially grabbed and held my interest in this book was the setting -- the northwest India on the Afghanistan border, 1910. This part of the world has been central in our lifetimes and I became fascinated with the perspectives on the region in the early 20th century. I'm not normally drawn to murder mysteries but Cleverly's masterly depiction of the diverse characters and her careful crafting of the who-dunnit kept me guessing until the very end. I would gladly pick up another book from thi ...more
Dec 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Historical mystery set near the Khyber Pass in 1920's India featuring British detective Joe Sandilands who is in India carrying out some work for the government. He finds himself embroiled in a frontier incident which trigger a new war between the British and frontier tribes. Sandilands has to unravel the death of a tribal leader. The story is lively with several interesting characters as well as plot twists and turns.
Nov 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I enjoy Barbara Cleverly's books, even though sometimes I struggle through them. I appreciate the history lessons, especially of a period in history that is not covered in most American school history classes. It is definitely the unknown history and geography that are at the root of my struggles through the books. I enjoy my visits with Mr. Sandilands and welcome them. The books are definitely worth reading.
Tad Richards
Feb 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
About 60 pages of plodding, painful exposition into this book, I decided I'd give it till page 75 for a murder to finally occur. But I didn't make it. I gave up on page 70. Nothing to recommend this one, in spite of the interesting setting. Oh, in one place a character says that the palace intrigue makes Richard III look like the Teddy Bears' Picnic, but the novel takes place in the 1920s, and the Teddy Bears' Picnic wasn't written till 1932.
Dec 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
The characters in this murder mystery set in the British Raj's North-West Frontier (by the Khyber Pass) seemed almost as difficult to figure out as real people on the one hand, and as flat as stock characters come on the other.

The American heiress didn't seem all that different from the main character British ex-bobby, and I couldn't get over the fact that he was called "Joe." (I don't know why it doesn't seem like a British name to me. Maybe I'd go for a detective Athelstan or somesuch.)
Oct 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Historical mysteries.
This is the third Joe Sandilands mystery I've read and it's my favourite so far. The setting is fantastic; what is now Pakistan, on the frontier border with the Khyber Pass. The characters are well-crafted; I enjoy Sandilands and I particularly liked Lily, the spirited American girl. The mystery was interesting and the story as well; well-written and well-paced. Barbara Cleverly clearly has found her stride and I'm now looking forward to getting the next book in the series. Well-done!
Jan 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: genre-fiction
Imperialist nostalgia aka despicable romanticizations of the British Raj. The author prefaces her trite series with a reference to 9/11 and how it was an example that things in Afghanistan don't change. Even a cursory examination of the history of Afghanistan would reveal the stark changes that have enveloped the region in just the last 5 decades. What is startlingly, though, is the unregenerate racism Cleverly indulges in. Dinosaurs walk amongst us.
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Barbara Cleverly was born in the north of England and is a graduate of Durham University. A former teacher, she has spent her working life in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk; she now lives in Cambridge. She has one son and five step-children.

Her Joe Sandilands series of books set against the background of the British Raj was inspired by the contents of a battered old tin trunk that she found in her att
More about Barbara Cleverly...

Other Books in the Series

Joe Sandilands (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • The Last Kashmiri Rose (Joe Sandilands, #1)
  • Ragtime in Simla (Joe Sandilands #2)
  • The Palace Tiger (Joe Sandilands, #4)
  • The Bee's Kiss (Joe Sandilands, #5)
  • Tug of War (Joe Sandilands, #6)
  • Folly Du Jour (Joe Sandilands, #7)
  • Strange Images of Death (Joe Sandilands, #8)
  • The Blood Royal (Joe Sandilands #9)
  • Not My Blood (Joe Sandilands #10)
  • A Spider in the Cup (Joe Sandilands #11)