The Tiger and the Ruby

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Pages: 288
Subject: History
Imprint: Oneworld

The Tiger and the Ruby

A Journey to the Other Side of British India

Kief Hillsbery

In a moving personal take on history, Kief Hillsbery sets out to uncover the fate of his ancestor who disappeared in Nepal over 150 years ago
9781786071590 (27 Jul 2017)
RRP £18.99

The Book

In 1841, Nigel Halleck set out from Britain for Calcutta as a clerk in the East India Company. He served in the colonial administration for eight years before taking leave of his post, eventually disappearing in the mountain kingdom of Nepal, never to be heard from again. Despite most traces of his life being destroyed in the bombing of his home town of Coventry during the Second World War, Nigel was never quite forgotten - the family myth of the man who headed east would reverberate through the generations.

A century-and-a-half later Kief Hillsbery, Nigel's nephew many times removed, embarked upon his own journey east, having promised his mother that he would search for the final resting place of their ancestor. What follows is a remarkable tale, beautifully rendered, weaving together a clash of civilizations in history, the quest to discover one's own identity and the moving tale of one man against an empire. A work of transportive power, The Tiger and the Ruby bestows upon us a very personal sense of a time and a place deep in the heart of British and Indian history.

Additional Information

Subject History
Pages 288
Imprint Oneworld


About the Author

Kief Hillsbery is an American writer and Lambda Literary Award nominee. He has published two novels - War Boy and What We Do Is Secret - and teaches creative writing at Columbia University. He lives in Brooklyn and Maine.


‘A fascinating and very surprising read.'

- Financial Times

‘There are travellers who can't write and writers who can't travel. Fortunately for his readers, Kief Hillsbery can do both. Part travelogue, part family memoir, The Tiger and the Ruby is a fine and moving tale, sensitively explored and beautifully written.'

- Justin Marozzi

‘A moving and enjoyable read.' 

- Geographical Magazine

‘Great details abound, both from historical accounts and from Hillsbery's own trips… Marvellous insights into the British in India… This has a narrative sweep reminiscent of Christopher Hibbert's social histories.'

- Booklist, starred review

‘An absorbing story, told with an eye for suspense and the odd, engrossing detail.'

- Shelf Awareness

‘A compelling microhistory, personal memoir, and incredibly vivid account.'

- Library Journal