The Company and the Crown
The book opens with Stephen de Villiers being horsewhipped by his father for getting kicked out of a military academy for cowardice, and branded unfit for service as a military officer. From childhood, Stephen has suffered his father’s exhortations that he is to serve honorably in the British military and die valiantly in battle, as every second son of the de Villiers family has done for generations. Incensed by Stephen’s cowardice, his father disinherits him, strips him of the family name, and ships him off to India to serve in the front lines so that he will be killed in battle, fulfilling the family tradition. Stephen arrives in India after a long voyage during which he gets to build trust in, and know his commanding officer, Major Saunders, and determined to either face his fate or defy his destiny.
In a parallel narrative, two young men, Isaiah Hawthorne and Roger Tompkins, embark on their voyage to India to make their fortunes as writers in the East India Company’s commercial enterprise. Sarah, Isaiah’s new bride, bids him good-bye at the dock and is fancied from afar by Roger. The two men build a bond of friendship as they begin their careers as writers. Soon they are presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to obtain riches beyond their wildest dreams, but it involves a shady scheme of embezzlement and deceit, proposed by Roger, and Isaiah will not have any part of it. How they deal with the dilemma will test not only their character but also their friendship.
Sarah arrives in India and is greeted with stunning and unexpected developments. How she handles the situation, as well as all the new challenges that face the community is also a testament to her character, her resilience, and her love and loyalty for Isaiah.
The narratives of the characters who represent the Crown and those that represent the Company intersect and intertwine as events unfold and they pursue their individual goals. They learn to love the land, embrace the changes that they are faced with, and make India their home.
The Company and the Crown tells the story of ordinary people who leave their homeland for various reasons—to prove themselves, seek their fortune, pursue glory or fame, or find opportunities not available to them in the land of their birth. But Fate has its own ideas for them, and they wind up doing something different, and of far greater consequence, than what they had intended—laying the foundation of one of the greatest empires in recent history: the Raj.
England was a powerhouse in the maritime world in the eighteenth century and had the biggest and most powerful navy. The role of the Crown in the Far East was not conquest, but to support trade. That would soon change with the advent of Robert Clive
The East India Company . . .
was a consortium of traders who sought to enrich themselves and their stockholders by trading for goods such as spices, silks, cottons and other commodities that were not available in Europe, and creating markets for them in Britain
The Company and The Crown
(In the days before The Raj)