The Scarlet Sword

byH. E. Bates. Atlantic-Little, Brown, $3.00.
A superbly executed tale of savagery and terror, fortitude and piety and love, in the mountain heights of Kashmir. In the eruption following the Partition of India, a band of murderous Pathans attacks an isolated Catholic Mission harboring some sixty people — two priests, the nuns, Hindu refugees, a British war correspondent, a British colonel and his wife, a young English girl and her mother, a nurse from Glasgow, and a dancer from the brothels of Bombay. The action, which lasts ten days, is one searing flash of violence in which the characters are brilliantly illumined. Few novelists today have Mr. Bates’s combination of gifts: tremendous pace, striking characterization, and vivid powers of description.