Sylvia Dyer was born in 1928 and grew up in the wilds of Champaran in north Bihar, on a plantation pioneered as an indigo estate by her great-grandfather, an Englishman. She spent ten years of schooling at St Helen's Convent at Kurseong, Darjeeling, was married twice, and widowed both times, to Indian Army officers. There were two sons from her first marriage and a daughter from the second. She now lives in Pune and her two surviving children have settled abroad.
Champaran, 1845. Drawn to the rich, fertile land to farm Blue Gold, indigo, Alfred Augustus Tripe settles by the river Baghmati. A whole village of workers emerges nearby as Tripe starts a family with an Indian heiress. Nearly a century later, Tripe's sprawling home and most of his family are destroyed in the devastating Bihar earthquake of 1934. Now his only granddaughter, Gladys, must find a way to stop her unscrupulous cousin Harry from usurping her entire inheritance and turning her young children destitute. A formidable dacoit leader miraculously comes to her rescue, India gains independence, and the flying foxes, the bearers of good fortune, disappear.
In sparkling, lyrical prose, Sylvia Dyer, Gladys's daughter, brings to life a world of picturesque beauty, love and hope intertwined with social ills, and a time when the passionate freedom struggle threatened the very existence of Anglo-Indians in India.
Very well-written . . . Dyer brings alive a world long lostA delightful memoir . . . Gripping and beautifully writtenA great read, a wondrous tale