Seven Breaths of the Dragon: The Secret History of the Gurkha-Dragon War : Book Review

Robert St Michael *

 Seven Breaths of the Dragon: The Secret History of the Gurkha-Dragon War

Official book synopsis as it appears on Amazon:

Our universe is stranger than we can imagine.

Dragons once ruled. Most fled, escaping extinction. Others hid, underground or underwater, biding their time. Dragons will rule the surface again-when humankind destroys itself.

In London, 1947, old Mary unearths a letter and foresees the return of long-lost friends. British intelligence asks, are old reports from 1891 true? Did Mary fly in a saucer? What does she know of dragons, space aliens, and shape-shifting reptilians? When Mary's friends arrive-a Gurkha soldier, a British secret agent, and an American scientist-unaged despite a 56-year absence, Mary must decide. Can she face her final great adventure?

In India, 1857, psychic-medium H.P. Blavatsky shuns the Great Game between Russia and Britain. When a reptilian tricks her into sparking the Great Rebellion, she flees to mysterious Manipur, where her search for knowledge awakens an ancient dragon god.

In Nepal, 1886, teenager Siriman encounters a fiery dragon. He escapes, seeking safety as a Gurkha soldier in the British army in India. Five years later, fate leads Siriman to Manipur-as a pawn trapped in a global conspiracy.

In Manipur, 1891, Ethel Grimwood faces fears and rejoins her philandering husband, only to flirt with British officers and a rebellious prince. When a secret society ignites a "little war" in Manipur, the Raj sends the Gurkhas and the fates of Ethel and Siriman intertwine. At disaster's brink, Ethel leads a desperate evacuation. Abandoned, Siriman and the Gurkhas face certain death until a golden-haired "angel" appears in a flying saucer, promising safety-if the Gurkhas will fight... dragons.

Read Seven Breaths of the Dragon, The Secret History of the Gurkha-Dragon War, where true-life historical fiction meets science fiction and New Age mysticism, and experience adventure in the tradition of Kipling, Haggard, Doyle, Wells, and Verne.

Additional Info/Comments from the Author :

Eight years ago I had an idea for a science-fiction novel pitting Nepali Gurkhas against dragons in a war in space. My thought was to have real Gurkhas from some point in history somehow transported to the future. I began researching Gurkhas and stumbled upon the incidents in Manipur in 1891. Each of the short accounts (written by British military writers) described the battle as if the Gurkhas had been surrounded, abandoned by their leaders, and died fighting to the last man. However, when I explored more deeply, reading accounts by Manipuris, it appeared that, in fact, when Manipur soldiers at last stormed the Residency, they found it empty and abandoned. There had been no “fight to the last man.” I dug deeper and found this statement on page 1365 of Col Ved Prakash’s Encyclopedia of North-East India:

“So what was the end count? Cowley had 275 with him, 73 had reached Kohima and 37 were at Tamu, 16 had been killed, and 21 wounded. That left 106 Native officers and men unaccounted, more than 5th of the original number.”

So, no fight to the end, and 106 hardy Gurkhas unaccounted? There is a real mystery, and I decided – there are my Gurkhas. I just needed to build a story around how 106 Gurkhas happened to disappear from the Earth. I researched even deeper. I learned many things about Manipur and the disaster of 1891. So many unanswered questions:

o Why did Sura Chandra suddenly abandon plans to be a fakir and turn south to Calcutta?
o What was the nature of the relationship between Ethel Grimwood and Frank, her husband? Between Ethel and her many British officers she constantly corresponded with? Between Ethel and Prince Tikendrajit?
o Why did the British send a force into Manipur large enough to be provocative yet supply them with insufficient weaponry to execute the mission or properly defend themselves?
o What really happened to Lieutenant Brackenbury? Why did he abandon his station, enter the Northern Gate, and try to enter the Yuvraj’s compound?
o Why was the slaughter of women and children during the Ras Lila nautch at the Rasmandala hidden by all British accounts? How could this catastrophe have happened?

The aspect of Sanamahi “dragon worship” (i.e. Pakhangba) and the great Kangla-sha statues (called ‘dragons’ by the British) were particularly intriguing. Then, discovery of the prophecy led me to supernatural aspects. I dug deep and found accounts of Manipur and the Mani jewel as described in the Mahabharata.

Then I stumbled onto the story of Mary Winchester who was captured by Zo people of the Lushai Hills in 1871 and rescued by Gurkhas in 1872. The short accounts were fascinating as presented, but each ended with a statement something like “she was sent back to England and disappeared from history.” I took that as a challenge and research little Mary – she had not “disappeared” at all. She was a VERY interesting character in later years. THEN, imagine my surprise to learn Mary was actually half-Manipuri. The plot thickens! Deeper research uncovered Mary’s mother’s name, but why did she go to Assam?

Research into the supernatural led me to the famous occult figure of the 19th century, Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, who coincidently died in 1891. Researching her past, I learned that in 1857, Madame Blavatsky was alleged to have fled India on the eve of the Great Rebellion and her escape route went from Assam to Burma. A quick check of any map shows the route from Assam to Burma passes through Manipur, so I had another piece of the puzzle. Then I learned that Madame Blavatsky had a looped dragon for a logo. Could she have been somehow influenced while in Manipur? Could she somehow have met Jatly, Mary’s mother, while in Manipur?

A question remained. Why would British leaders send Chief Commissioner Quinton to Manipur and put him into a position to behave so recklessly while not providing adequate weaponry? There had to be a reason. Checking for parallel incidents in 1891, I discovered allegations of a global conspiracy called the “Round Table” founded by Cecil Rhodes at a meeting held in London in early 1891. More pieces fell into place. I learned that Rhodes’ comrade was William T. Stead, who was closely associated with Madame Blavatsky, and was exploring the supernatural and automatic writing. More and more material.

My research went on and on, year after year, as I wrote drafts, starting over many times. Suddenly I found myself writing a long story that required a series of long books, and was becoming more historical-fiction than science-fiction. Stories that are not concise and cannot be placed solidly in a single genre are challenging to explain, and stories that cannot be easily explained often fail to reach market. I knew this book would have to be self-published, as it would be difficult to convince a US publisher of the importance of these topics or to publish such a book.

Oh, and then, when I realized my birthday, August 13, was Patriots Day in Manipur, I knew something had aligned in the stars. I had to tell this story.

* Robert St Michael sent this infor for
The writer can be contacted at persistenceofcontent(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on August 09, 2018.

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