Our delta, called Dutch Battery, was young. Its soil not hardened yet . . . History was the most important commodity our delta imported.' Born in Dutch Battery, one of the many islands that speckle Kochi waters, Edwina Theresa Irene Maria Anne Margarita Jessica is heir to the keepsakes and stories brought by the sea and winds. Entwined with her life are those of other -bridgeless' islanders, disconnected from the mainland every night with the departure of the last ferry boat: Jessica's great-grandfather Louis, who stole the calculus of shipbuilding from his master and settled in Dutch Battery to start its first boatyard; her uncle Edwin, who learned the art of making biryani from his father, who, in turn, learned it from a carpet-seller from Shiraz; Santiague, who was as passionate about staging the nearly extinct operatic drama, chavittunatakam, as he was about his evening toddy; the smallpox vaccinator, Saradamma, whose very shadow made the islanders scoot for cover; and Comrade Ramachandra Shenoy, last in a long line of proselytizers like the Carmelite, Dominican and Jesuit missionaries, who succeeded in starting a unit of the Communist Party in Dutch Battery. As Jessica dispassionately watches the victories, failures and redemptions of the other islanders, she finds herself caught in a relentless swirl of events. Set against a fantastical social landscape, and told with exquisite humour, Litanies of Dutch Battery is a deeply political novel that is also the story of a newly independent India.