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Authors: Sarita Mandanna

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Tiger Hills

BOOK: Tiger Hills
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Published in Viking Canada hardcover by Penguin Group (Canada), a division of Pearson Canada Inc., 2011. Simultaneously published in the United States by Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

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Copyright © Sarita Mandanna, 2011

All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

Publisher's note: This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the
author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events, or locales
is entirely coincidental.

Manufactured in the U.S.A.


Mandanna, Sarita

Tiger Hills / Sarita Mandanna.

ISBN 978-0-1-431-8046-3

I. Title.

PR9499.4.M36T54 2011



American Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication data available

Visit the Penguin Group (Canada) website at

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For my grandparents

Kambeyanda Dechi & Muddayya and

Charimanda Seetha & Biddappa


My deepest thanks to:

My lovely mother for reading draft after draft with such enthusiasm and insight.

My husband for his infinite patience and support. My father for his staunch belief in this book. My sister for her objective and unfailingly honest eye.

Biswarup Chatterjee, Jeff Willner, and Sukanya Dasgupta Roy—critics extraordinaire and friends indeed.

Pussy Tayi for painting such vivid pictures of a Mercara before my time. My uncle Mani for sharing with me his seemingly inexhaustible knowledge of all things Coorg. To Uncle Bobjee and Aunty Titi for their invaluable compilation, the Pattolé Palamé, and for answering my questions in such generous detail. My in-laws, and all the aunts and uncles who took me to old ancestral homes, gave freely from their libraries, and thought up still more people with whom I could speak.

Ananth Shankar, Deepali Bagati, Kishen and Muthu Nanjappa, Mridu Gulati, Polly Kelekis, Vimmi Singh, and Vrinda Deval for early read-throughs and helping in a myriad different ways. Kuppanda Kalpana Kuttaiah, whose wonderful photograph of her mother's sari became the border used on the cover.

The wonderful ladies at DGA: Heather Godwin, Charlotte Knight, Sophie Hoult, and Anna Watkins—efficient, extraordinary.

Kirsty Dunseath, early champion of
Tiger Hills,
and the most insightful and constructive editor a person could hope for. Sara Weiss, for believing so fully in
Tiger Hills
and for her startlingly acute, consistently intelligent editorial counsel—you made this story better. Diya Kar Hazra and Nicole Winstanley for their unwavering advocacy.

Jamie Raab, Deb Futter, Emi Battaglia, Anne Twomey, Siri Silleck, Giraud Lober, Karen Torres, Linda Duggins, Brad Parsons, and the rest of the team at Grand Central Publishing for all their support and assistance. Every author should be so lucky.

Finally, to the two people I owe a great deal: David Davidar, without whom this book might never have been, and David Godwin, but for whom it might never have been seen.

Author's Note

Tiger Hills
is a work of historical fiction. In writing the novel, I drew on multiple texts to paint a picture of Coorg that tallied, in spirit, with the original. These sources include:

Gazetteer of Coorg,
Natural Features of the Country and the Social and Political Condition of Its Inhabitants, compiled by Rev. G. Richter, Principal, Government Central School, Mercara, and Inspector of the Coorg Schools, 1870 edition, reprint 1995 (DK Publishers & Distrs.); 2.
Mysore and Coorg, Volume III—Coorg.
A Gazetteer compiled for the Government of India by Benjamin Lewis Rice, 1878 edition, reprint 2004 (
Karnataka Gazetteer
); 3.
Coorg Memoirs; An Account of Coorg, and of the Coorg Mission
by Rev. H. Moegling; 1855 edition (originally printed by the Wesleyan Mission Press, forms a compendium to the book above); 4.
Ethnographical Compendium of the Castes and Tribes found in the Province of Coorg with a short description of those peculiar to Coorg
by Rev. G. Richter, 1887 edition (Mysore Residency Press); 5.
Report on Education in Coorg from 1834–1882,
drawn up under orders from the Government of India, No. 191, Home Department, Dated 9 March 1882 by Lewis Rice, Esq., Director of Public Instruction, Mysore and Coorg; 1884 edition (Superintendent of Government Printing, India); 6.
The Imperial Gazetteer of India, Volume IV: From Cochin to Ganguria
by W. W. Hunter, C.S.I., C.I.E., LL.D., Director General of Statistics to the Government of India, Second Edition, 1885 (Trubner & Co., London); 7.
The Oriental Annual,
or Scenes in India
; comprising twenty-two engravings from original drawings by William Danielle R.A. and a descriptive account by Rev. Hobart Caunter, B.D., 1836 edition (published for the proprietor by Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street); 8.
Eastern Experiences
by Lewin Bentham Bowring C.S.I., Late Commissioner of Mysore and Coorg, 1871 edition (Henry S. King & Co., London); 9.
The Indian Forester: A Monthly Magazine of Forestry, Agriculture, Shikar, and Travel,
E. E. Fernandez, Deputy Director, Forest School, Dehra Dun, Volume XV, 1889 (Thomasan Civil Engineering College Press); 10.
The Coorg Tribes and Castes,
L. A. Krishna Iyer, Johnson reprint, 1969; 11.
The Agricultural Journal of India,
Volume I, Government of India, Central Publication Branch for the Imperial Council of Agricultural Research, 1906; 12.
Blackwood's Magazine,
Volume 212, 1922; 13.
The Story of the Malakand Field Force: An Episode of Frontier War
by Winston Churchill, 1898 edition, 2005 re-release date; 14.
The Experiences of a Planter in the Jungles of Mysore,
Volume I by Robert H. Elliot; 1871 edition (Chapman and Hall, London); 15.
Gold, Sport, and Coffee Planting in Mysore,
Robert H. Elliot, 2004 re-release date.

In addition, the quinine extract in chapter 7 was adapted from an article by C.H. Woods that appeared in the
Calcutta Gazette
in 1896.

The original author of the newspaper article in chapter 35 is unknown, and is based on material appearing in
The Autobiography of Balbir Singh (Senior)
by Samuel Banerjee, printed by Vikas Publishers, 1977, and referenced in

Finally, a word of thanks to the many poets whose poetry graces the pages of
Tiger Hills
: Percy Bysshe Shelley for “Bereavement” and “On a Poet's Lips I Slept,” Elizabeth Barrett Browning for “How Do I Love Thee,” Sir Walter Scott for “The Lady of the Lake,” Lewis Carroll for “Jabberwocky,” and the unknown authors of some of the limericks in the later chapters.


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BOOK: Tiger Hills
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