It's spring 1920 in the small military town of Nandagiri in southeast India. Colonel Aylmer, commander of the Royal Irish Kildare Rangers, is in charge. A distance away, decently hidden from view, lies the native part of Nandagiri with its heaving bazaar, reeking streets, and brothels. Everyone in Nandagiri knows their place and the part they were born to play--with one exception. The local Anglo-Indians, tainted by their mixed blood, belong nowhere. When news of the Black and Tans' atrocities back in Ireland reaches the troops, even their priest cannot cool the men's hot-headed rage. Politics vie with passion as Private Michael Flaherty pays court to Rose, Mrs. Aylmer's Anglo-Indian maid, but mutiny brings heroism and heartbreak in equal measure. Only the arrival of Colonel Aylmer's grandson Richard, some 60 years later, will set off the reckoning, when those who were parted will be reunited, and those who were lost will be found again.
“Cauvery Madhavan’s evocative narrative spins together the intriguing lives of her characters over nearly seven decades and makes ‘The Tainted’ a riveting read. Unfolding largely through conversations among the principal characters is an elegiac tale of the Anglo-Indian community, their heritage and their uncertain future. The intricate details of every experience are captured in simple language and with great precision. A moving story, compellingly told””
— SHASHI THAROOR, INDIAN POLITICIAN AND WRITER
“I was immensely moved by this epic novel. A compelling and assured novel of conflicting loyalties and conjoined pasts that resurrects forgotten histories of the Irish in India, exhuming tragic loves and foiled mutinies, and examining them in the clear light of the present.”
— NAMITA GOKHALE, FESTIVAL DIRECTOR, JAIPUR LITERARY FESTIVAL