The Devil Dancers
Truda Thurai

Following Independence from the British, Ceylon's future looks bright. A new prime minister is creating a modern nation. But his legacy is an unexpected one. The deals that brought him to power turn into a time-bomb and the country is contorted by bloody race riots.

A widening rift divides Tamils and Sinhalese destroying communities. Neighbour turns on neighbour. As the terror increases, many lives are transformed:
- brilliant but naïve, Arjun is banished to a backwater where he falls hopelessly in love with Neleni, a married woman. But her rival also plans to ensnare him;
- murder and a flight from deadly pursuers introduce Asoka, a former monk and revolutionary, to Sriya. She offers him redemption, but Asoka is haunted by the past;
- Sergeant Gunasekera's only diversion is crime thrillers - until he is forced to take responsibility for a group of refugees;
- Ella, the maid, steals her ride to work on a commuter train. But she embarks on a different journey after her village is attacked by rioters;
- Leela has all that money can buy until her husband is killed. Then, faced with bankruptcy, she strikes an unholy pact with her former lover;
- Prime Minister Bandaranaike owes his election to a powerful Buddhist abbot. But there is a high price to pay.

In this atmosphere of violence and uncertainty, relationships fracture and families fragment reflecting the wider political turmoil. Yet, weaving its way through the mayhem is a single, twisted thread: the story of Neleni and Arjun.

About the author:

Truda Turai took an MA in Medieval History at King’s in 1982-3 with Jinty Nelson.