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From the 1830s to Indian independence in 1947, British soldiers fought constant wars with the most implacable guerrilla-fighters in history. The Afghan mountain tribes were fiercely independent. For generations they had plundered the north Indian plain…until the British took charge and alternated between paying them subsidies (bribes to cease their raiding) and launching punitive military expeditions to teach them manners. It was a strange war fought to its own rules. Neither side took prisoners. Yet a grudging respect for the enemy and a concern to stick by unwritten codes of conduct governed this hundred-year war. Immortalized by Kipling, the British Army in India fought along the frontier until the withdrawal from the sub-continent in 1947. From The Lives of a Bengal Lancer to carry on up the Khyber this has been a rich source of inspiration for novelists and film-makers. Michael Barthorp tells the story in his unique vivid style.