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: No one could have invented John Beames, whose vibrant and original memoirs were discovered by chance in an attic almost a century after they were written. He arrived in India in 1858, the year after the Mutiny, and worked there as a civil servant for the next thirty-five years, defending powerless peasants against rapacious planters, improvising fifteen-gun salutes for visiting dignitaries, and presiding over the blissful coast of Orissa. His acquaintances spanned from lofty Rajas to dissolute Englishmen. Vivid, candid, and without fear of authority, Beames was a defiant individual in a huge bureaucracy. He writes with a rich, descriptive prose in the manner of Defoe and Dickens.