Random stuff on Life, the Universe and Science Fiction

Book 3: The Man Who Would be King, Rudyard Kipling

This will be a much shorter review than the last one, mainly because it’s a much shorter book.

Book 3 of my challenge was originally going to be another Star Trek book but I’ve decided to leave that till a little later and do some other books first. This one is the first I’ve read of the free, public domain books I’ve downloaded for my Kindle.

The Man Who Would Be King was originally published by Kipling as the title story in a collection with shorter stories but this version stands alone.

The plot is quite simple but brilliant fun. It is told in the first person from the point of view of a British journalist on station in India at the height of the British Empire. In the film version the journalist is portrayed as Kipling himself but his identity is never revealed in the book. The journalist encounters two adventurers, Daniel Dravot and Peachy Carnehan, on a train and they later visit him in his office in Lahore. They inform the journalist that they intend to journey to the least explored areas of the subcontinent. There they will find a backwards tribe and, with knowledge of weaponry and military strategy learnt in the army, help the tribe defeat their enemies and impress the tribe into making them into Kings. Needless to say their quest doesn’t quite go as planned.

The story is a fantastic little adventure and I found myself really wanting it to be longer and flesh out the details. To this end I’d really recommend the film, starring Sir Michael Caine & Sir Sean Connery as Peachy & Dravot and Christopher Plummer as Kipling. The film really uses its extended storytelling abilities to bring to life and embellish Kipling’s story, filling in the many gaps in time the story skips over.

Maybe that review wasn’t too much shorter than last time after all!

Great story but too short, I wanted more! 7/10

50 Book Challenge so far:
Books: 3/50
Pages: 1219/15000

Next up: Biggles and the Deep Blue Sea, Captain W.E. Johns

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