website statistics King--Of the Khyber Rifles by Talbot Mundy, Fiction, Historical, Action & Adventure - PDF Books Online
Hot Best Seller

King--Of the Khyber Rifles by Talbot Mundy, Fiction, Historical, Action & Adventure

Availability: Ready to download

Captain Athelstan King is a secret agent for the British Raj at the beginning of the First World War. Heavily influenced both by Mundy's own unsuccessful career in India and by his interest in theosophy, it describes King's adventures among the (mostly Muslim) tribes of the north with the mystical woman adventuress, princess Yasmini and the Turkish mullah Muhammed Anim. Captain Athelstan King is a secret agent for the British Raj at the beginning of the First World War. Heavily influenced both by Mundy's own unsuccessful career in India and by his interest in theosophy, it describes King's adventures among the (mostly Muslim) tribes of the north with the mystical woman adventuress, princess Yasmini and the Turkish mullah Muhammed Anim.


Compare

Captain Athelstan King is a secret agent for the British Raj at the beginning of the First World War. Heavily influenced both by Mundy's own unsuccessful career in India and by his interest in theosophy, it describes King's adventures among the (mostly Muslim) tribes of the north with the mystical woman adventuress, princess Yasmini and the Turkish mullah Muhammed Anim. Captain Athelstan King is a secret agent for the British Raj at the beginning of the First World War. Heavily influenced both by Mundy's own unsuccessful career in India and by his interest in theosophy, it describes King's adventures among the (mostly Muslim) tribes of the north with the mystical woman adventuress, princess Yasmini and the Turkish mullah Muhammed Anim.

30 review for King--Of the Khyber Rifles by Talbot Mundy, Fiction, Historical, Action & Adventure

  1. 5 out of 5

    J.G. Keely

    The East is a fantasy--it does not exist, save in the minds of Westerners. As Said points out, they make it up, out of their own hopes, dreams, and fears. They will create it even where it doesn’t exist, and they will believe in it despite evidence to the contrary. When a lawyer in London convinces them with words, they will call him ‘shrewd’--when a Hakim in Delhi does the same, they lay it to ‘mesmerism’. When a young thing with a bare shoulder in Paris turns their head, it is because she is a The East is a fantasy--it does not exist, save in the minds of Westerners. As Said points out, they make it up, out of their own hopes, dreams, and fears. They will create it even where it doesn’t exist, and they will believe in it despite evidence to the contrary. When a lawyer in London convinces them with words, they will call him ‘shrewd’--when a Hakim in Delhi does the same, they lay it to ‘mesmerism’. When a young thing with a bare shoulder in Paris turns their head, it is because she is a pretty coquette, no more--when a musk-scented daughter of Persia does the same, it is laid to some ancient magic. Tales of colonial adventure in the East, with few exceptions, are fantasies--true fantasies, of magic and impossible things, of notions which spring from the mind and come to life in the world. Indeed, that is part of the charm of such narratives: that in reading Burton, we learn more of Burton than we do of ‘The East’, as his sometimes questionable translations demonstrate--but even biased as he may be, to read of a man as large and queer and self-made as he is an amusing thing. Of course, it is also makes the narratives false, and invites us to believe that the East is real, and not merely a fantasy. Hesse writes of the tenets of German Protestantism--but because he writes of them under the guise of Eastern wisdom, they are gobbled up as if they were new. In the fascinating (and sometimes uncomfortable) documentary Kumaré, a man born in New Jersey grows a long beard and imitates his grandmother’s accent, and easily fools everyone into thinking he is some wise guru, even when his words make no sense. It is the fantasy of the East, and while it can make for an entertaining story, we must not be fooled into thinking, as Kumaré's students are, that their own notion is the real story of a real people. Mundy’s is a better fantasy than most, relying as it does upon all those little bits of oddness, verisimilitude, and turns of phrase that gradually build into a wondrous and strange realm. But then, Mundy lived during his youth in Africa, India, and elsewhere, making his way as a con man and petty criminal, which experiences certainly give his tales an excellent flavor. It is hardly surprising that his work was an influence on authors of Sword & Sorcery Adventure, inspiring Robert E. Howard’s Conan and Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar--and both construct their fantastical worlds along the same lines as Mundy's. In Howard, it is the story of the foreign man in the mystical East, amongst the arched temples, the scent of incense, the dancing girls, the wicked viziers, the brutal yet righteous warriors, debauchery, savagery, and ancient magics unearthed. For Leiber, it is the thousand-fold minarets of the eternal City of Brass: the old houses and old feuds, the corruption and tyranny of the priests, the bustling marketplace where the spoils of a hundred far-fetched lands are priced and weighed. But then, of course, these are all traits of the great European cities, as well, which are no less ancient, no less strange and bustling--but somehow, a twisting alley in London is thought of differently to a twisting alley in Marrakesh. It is the process of showing us something old, but in a way that makes us think of it freshly, without preconceptions--a process known in literary criticism as ‘defamiliarization’. The Myth of the East is a sort of automatic defamiliarization, in that we are always primed to see its ways as strange and different, even when they are not. This was how the Theosophists used it, to lend a sense of newness and authenticity to their own lives. Without that, they were merely eccentrics with loose morals and a dislike of honest labor, but shroud it all in a veil of pseudo-religious phrases and symbols, and it starts to read in quite a different way, altogether. It’s still how many New Agers live their lives: they do not sacrifice in order to practice a faith, they sacrifice the faith in order to practice themselves. It is just an exercise in self-prejudice. Mundy himself was a known Theosophist, which is not hard to detect in his work. He has made of the East something like a fairyland, and espouses the same old philosophy of the stagnation of the Abrahamic faiths giving way before the more ancient (and hence ‘true’) and more infinite variety of the Eastern Gods. In his bright and curious characters, his poetic bent, and his turns at spiritualism, he resembles that group of colonial authors whose works aspired to greatness: Conrad, Kipling, Doyle, Melville, H.G. Wells--but he never quite philosophizes the way they do. His action is planted too firmly on the ground, and his mysticism is too undefined and undifferentiated to reach the profundity of those authors. Thus he is relegated to the lesser tier of adventure writers, whose works sparkle and delight, but rarely challenge. In style, Mundy possesses a cleverness and a passion that outstrips Haggard, though one will recognize in King--of the Khyber Rifles a story that very nearly parallels the Quatermain tale She--yet I found that Mundy’s take was more subtle, owing more to Realism than Pulp, and with greater sophistication and charm. The beginning, slowly playing out, is the superior part, introducing us to Captain Athelstan King of the Secret Service--a kind of early secret agent working for the Raj. He is an immediately recognizable type, that self-possessed, competent man who wins his way through life by wit and daring, of which the Colonial Period gave us numerous examples in the likes of Lawrence of Arabia, Sir Richard Francis Burton, or 'Chinese' Gordon. Though in detail and subtlety, Mundy outdoes Haggard, there are some slower patches, particularly in a lengthy section of exposition about the middle which should have been the climax to the mystery that led us along the first third of the book. He begins to get bogged down in his plot, and then to make of his characters mouthpieces for his own Theosophical notions about true religion and ancient divinity. Yet, after this stint, we're on our way again, towards the somewhat predictable climax. There is a rather delightful twist in the story that I happened to guess about the middle, due to the phrasing in a particular scene--and when I realized it, I was embarrassed not to have seen it sooner, as should be the case with a good twist. Yet, I think that without that one scene, I might not have realized it until quite a bit later, though it does grow increasingly obvious. But, for all its inevitability and a few slow sections, it is overall a delightful adventure, and reminds me once more that as a fantasist, it is important that I study not only the blatant fantasies--the fantasies that call themselves fantasies--but also those fantasies that masquerade as truth, the ones that we use as convenient shortcuts to represent the world, and to confirm our own biases, that are true only in the mind, only as symbols, and which by habit we overlay upon a world that we can never fully understand. Full text available for free from Project Gutenberg.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dfordoom

    King of the Khyber Rifles King of the Khyber Rifles, published in 1916, is a rousing tale of adventure on the Northwest Frontier on India. The author, Talbot Mundy (1879-1940), was born in England. After an adventurous life in various parts of the world he settled in the United States in 1911 where he began his writing career. He would go on to become one of the masters of the adventure genre. King of the Khyber Rifles opens in 1914. The outbreak of the European war poses major problems for the Br King of the Khyber Rifles King of the Khyber Rifles, published in 1916, is a rousing tale of adventure on the Northwest Frontier on India. The author, Talbot Mundy (1879-1940), was born in England. After an adventurous life in various parts of the world he settled in the United States in 1911 where he began his writing career. He would go on to become one of the masters of the adventure genre. King of the Khyber Rifles opens in 1914. The outbreak of the European war poses major problems for the British authorities in India. Garrisons have been stripped of men to fight in Europe and India is now held by a perilously small contingent of British soldiers backed by native troops. And of course there is trouble on the Northwest Frontier. There is always trouble on the Northwest Frontier, but now that the fierce hill tribesmen know that the British army in India has been seriously weakened there is likely to be more trouble than usual. There is talk of a jihad. Athelstan King of the Indian Secret Service is given the difficult task of preventing a rising of the tribes. He is to make contact with a mysterious woman named Yasmini. Yasmini is a kind of princess who has a devoted following among the hillmen. She is believed to be loyal to the British but with a woman like Yasmini certainty is impossible. Yasmini enjoys power and may be tempted to try to carve out an empire for herself. No-one who has known her doubts that she is capable of doing just that. She is both beautiful and dangerous, but also potentially the saviour of British India if she can be persuaded to remain loyal. King is seconded to the Khyber Rifles but he will be travelling to the frontier in disguise. He has chosen the disguise of a hakim, a native doctor and healer. After crossing the Khyber Pass King finds himself in Khinjan, a vast fortress carved out of a mountain. No-one is allowed entrance to Khinjan unless he can prove that he is a murderer. This is not exactly a civilised part of the world. King finds himself drawn into a bewildering web of plots and counter-plots. Yasmini is not the only one who is capable of raising an army amongst the hill tribesmen. There is also a murderous mullah who dreams of a jihad. Athelstan King finds that Yasmini takes more than a political interest in him. He may well find himself cast in the role of a lover, not the safest occupation in the world where such a woman is concerned. Khinjan conceals a strange secret. The past is very much alive there. A Roman general had penetrated as far as Khinjan with an army, but he never did return to Rome. He remains in Khinjan, or at least his body does. Or is it just his body? Can the past live again? This adds an interesting hint of the occult to the story. Mundy’s stories are not mere adventure tales. They also contain a great deal of political intrigue, a subject that fascinated him and with which he was very much at home. There is plenty of adventure as well though. The world beyond the Khyber Pass is a world of blood-feuds and murder. The tribesmen would consider themselves shamed if they earned an honest living. They can be loyal friends, but they can just as easily slit your throat, and do it cheerfully. Athelstan King is a hero who relies more on brainpower, and on his own considerable skills at political intrigue, more than on brawn although he is certainly capable of being a man of action when required. He is an interesting character, but it is Yasmini, a constant presence in the background, who dominates the book. An excellent novel of adventure, and highly recommended.

  3. 4 out of 5

    David

    In a way, a standard paternalist/racist white-man-among-the-brown-people adventure yarn, clearly written quickly (though much of the writing, poetry aside, is surprisingly artful). Interesting in how Mundy walks the tightrope of giving the "mysterious East" just enough credit to provide the hero a worthy adversary, while still reassuring the British target audience that Western ingenuity and moral fiber will always triumph. Also well paced, and keeping the beautiful, dangerous, inscrutable heroi In a way, a standard paternalist/racist white-man-among-the-brown-people adventure yarn, clearly written quickly (though much of the writing, poetry aside, is surprisingly artful). Interesting in how Mundy walks the tightrope of giving the "mysterious East" just enough credit to provide the hero a worthy adversary, while still reassuring the British target audience that Western ingenuity and moral fiber will always triumph. Also well paced, and keeping the beautiful, dangerous, inscrutable heroine/villainess Yasmini offstage for half the novel builds suspense. Easy to see how Mundy's approach - and depictions of the hillmen - influenced Robert E. Howard, for example. An experiment for me as it was the first book I ever read on my phone - I downloaded the text from Project Gutenberg and read the whole thing in Notepad. I've been a vocal opponent of reading books on a portable device but I have to admit, it didn't bother me at all.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth Grossman

    King of the Khyber Rifles by Talbot Mundy takes place at the beginning of World War I. This is a spy thriller par excellance filled with romance and action, set first in India and then in the exotic area of the Khyber Pass and Khinjan in Pakistan and Afghanistan (generally the northeastern area of England's then Indian Empire or Raj). The hero, Athelstan King, is a British Secret Service agent who must do the impossible - prevent a Moslem jihad (sound familiar?) fomented by the Germans and Turks King of the Khyber Rifles by Talbot Mundy takes place at the beginning of World War I. This is a spy thriller par excellance filled with romance and action, set first in India and then in the exotic area of the Khyber Pass and Khinjan in Pakistan and Afghanistan (generally the northeastern area of England's then Indian Empire or Raj). The hero, Athelstan King, is a British Secret Service agent who must do the impossible - prevent a Moslem jihad (sound familiar?) fomented by the Germans and Turks, into Hindu India, which could potentially cause a general uprising in India against the English (the Moslems, of course, want to conquer India). The situation is serious because English forces in India are being depleted due to a general call up because of the British war effort in Europe. To accomplish his mission, King must enlist the services of the elusive Yasmini, a virtual princess in the area, and discover the secret of the Khinjan Caves. The novel is geographically correct, ethnic groups are correctly geolocated to the extent that I was able to determine (Talbot was in the area for several years), and the plot is definitely historically plausible. The book, though written in 1916 (originally serialized for a magazine), gives some insight into the mentality of the tribes in the area and complexity of handling Pakistan and Afghanistan in current world affairs, even now in the twenty-first century. The book is a good read. It is very well written and moves along very quickly even though it is not short. Of course, the British Secret Service doing the impossible is not a new theme. A recent movie effort is Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015), with an excellent effort by veteran Michael Caine. There is also some interest for Israeli readers. Talbot Mundy helped found the first newspaper in English in Palestine, called the Jerusalem News. As a converted Christian Scientist, he was in Jerusalem for 6 months in 1920 and witnessed the Nebi Musa Arab-Jewish riots.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Vimal Thiagarajan

    This timeless Mundy special is a treatise on what-happens-next.Several threads of suspense running intertwined, culminating in a reasonably clever ending.I was truly transported to the North-western frontier of British India during 1914. With the colonial British legions from India getting dispatched to Europe to fight the Germans, there is trouble brewing at the north-western frontier of India courtesy the ever-threatening Afghan hillmen, now aided by the Germans, Russians and the Ottoman Turks. This timeless Mundy special is a treatise on what-happens-next.Several threads of suspense running intertwined, culminating in a reasonably clever ending.I was truly transported to the North-western frontier of British India during 1914. With the colonial British legions from India getting dispatched to Europe to fight the Germans, there is trouble brewing at the north-western frontier of India courtesy the ever-threatening Afghan hillmen, now aided by the Germans, Russians and the Ottoman Turks. And what do the British do? They send Athelstan King from the British Secret Service to meet a mysterious but powerful Indian lady who had shown signs of loyalty to the British, and to act together and quell any insurrection.What follows is bubbling adventure, mysticism,lyrical prose, Yasmini,mad mullahs and hakims, khyber pass, Khinjan caves,hillmen, re-incarnation, insurrection...let me take some breath.Phew.Hard to imagine that much of this novel came from Mundy's imagination.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    Not as well known as H. Rider Haggard, Mundy wrote a similar sort of mythic colonial adventure tale, usually in set in his beloved India. At times it was hard for me to tell where Mundy's belief in psychic/philosophical rigmarole stopped and the swashbuckling tale took over, but I definitely sensed a certain sincerity beneath the pulp adventure story. His tales are less fantastic than, say, Edgar Rice Burroughs' or Robert E. Howard's, but they're equally rich in setting. Here the story takes pla Not as well known as H. Rider Haggard, Mundy wrote a similar sort of mythic colonial adventure tale, usually in set in his beloved India. At times it was hard for me to tell where Mundy's belief in psychic/philosophical rigmarole stopped and the swashbuckling tale took over, but I definitely sensed a certain sincerity beneath the pulp adventure story. His tales are less fantastic than, say, Edgar Rice Burroughs' or Robert E. Howard's, but they're equally rich in setting. Here the story takes place in "forbidden" Tibet, and Mundy provides plenty of exotic local color. Of course, there's a sterling British hero and lots of malicious, skulking bad guys hot on his tail, not to mention a mesmerizing mythic woman reminiscent of "She" of Rider Haggard. Great stuff.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michael Pryor

    Talbot Mundy is one of the forgotten writers of the early 20C. He was a contemporary of Conan Doyle and H. Rider Haggard, but his adventure thrillers haven't endured as theirs have. Hard to see why not, really. The story of political intrigue, warmongering and romance in the north-west frontier of India starts slowly, but picks up pace with plenty of exotic detail. Yes, it has the casual racism of the time, and it jars, but we do have an upright, two-fisted hero who isn't afraid to use his brain Talbot Mundy is one of the forgotten writers of the early 20C. He was a contemporary of Conan Doyle and H. Rider Haggard, but his adventure thrillers haven't endured as theirs have. Hard to see why not, really. The story of political intrigue, warmongering and romance in the north-west frontier of India starts slowly, but picks up pace with plenty of exotic detail. Yes, it has the casual racism of the time, and it jars, but we do have an upright, two-fisted hero who isn't afraid to use his brain, and we do have strange and mystical landscapes, and a female character who is fascinatingly the most intelligent, most capable and the most ruthless of them all.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Giles

    I had read the clasic comic in the 50s and also saw the movie with Tyrone Power in either 59 or 60. This book is slightly different from the classic comic. Talbot Mundy has an ex cathedra way of pronouncing on all and sundry especially the differences between East and West. Still a very exciting read, and a glimse into the mindset of a colonial in the early 1900s.

  9. 5 out of 5

    An Odd1

    Athelstan King, seventh generation India-British soldier, must investigate mystery "Heart of the Hills", rumors of an India uprising that would surprise British forces facing the other way, the German war machine of WW1. His strange ability like "water, to reach the point he aimed for" p20 can reach through a noisy loud crowded train station, or bandit-ridden northern Hills to Khinjan Caves, where seductive mesmerising Yasmini rules and no other Secret Service Agent has returned from. His proud Athelstan King, seventh generation India-British soldier, must investigate mystery "Heart of the Hills", rumors of an India uprising that would surprise British forces facing the other way, the German war machine of WW1. His strange ability like "water, to reach the point he aimed for" p20 can reach through a noisy loud crowded train station, or bandit-ridden northern Hills to Khinjan Caves, where seductive mesmerising Yasmini rules and no other Secret Service Agent has returned from. His proud Roman nose is constantly brought to the fore because a centuries-preserved Roman General "Sleeper" looks identical. Silence "ever well to think twice before speaking once" p51 or clever cracks turn aside blustering officious underestimating superiors and threats, whether seductive charmer with blonde hair swinging floor-length(view spoiler)[ who looks like the "Heart of the Hills", Caesar's Grecian maid partnerand murderer (hide spoiler)] , or HER (sic Mundy's constant capitalization) menacing bearded helpers Ismail and Bull-with-a-Beard. Rewa Gunga, HER messenger, ever-present go-between, slim aristocratic Rangar, has "delicate dainty finger with almond nail" p41 and puzzled ever-changing eyes(view spoiler)[ so feminine and all-knowing of HER that he obviously is HER (hide spoiler)] . First Yasmini gives King a heavy gold armband to command obedience from her followers, then King darkens his skin to pass disguised as a native healer Kurram Khan. Some twists are obvious, others not. (view spoiler)[When King holds up a head as proof he killed a man, required to enter the Caves, I thought it was a fake he made ahead of time(view spoiler)[, not Charles, trapped, overwhelmed by Bull's villains for their own spy, then stolen by HER men and tossed to King. (hide spoiler)] When King meets his own sibling Charles in charge of the Fort guarding the Pass in, I hoped the brothers would team up to infiltrate. (view spoiler)[King does not react with a single twinge, tear, or regret, not when first catching Charles' head, nor any time, even to the last page (hide spoiler)] SHE keeps trying to kill King, his only physical conflicts, but says she loves him. (view spoiler)[ She has gold, money, weapons, ammo from the Germans, supplies stocked up, yet decides to blow everything up. King only wins because she gives up her ambition for power. How can we admire them as heroic, when neither triumphs by positive virtues? (hide spoiler)] How can she maintain order when she dances erotically, feet naked, costumed in "gauzy silk transparent stuff" p184? "She was the dawn light touching the distant peaks.. She was blossom. She was fruit" p197. Standing over a crystal, her hot little hands grasp his unreleasing, her perfume (from oils that embalm tissue for centuries - Would you dab that behind your ears?) floods his senses, and they share visions of a Roman conqueror and his mistress(view spoiler)[, whose bodies have been hidden safe in the Caves since their deaths (hide spoiler)] . The woo-woo hypnosis is my least favorite part, but if I gave up on Agatha Christie over supernatural stories, I'd miss hours of fun and death, so probably I'll look for more Mundy "thee" "thou". The best part is suspense, tentatively inching blind, along dark damp underground passages, around bottomless pits where Mundy catches up our senses, archaic phrasing, strongest in verses prefacing chapters. Definitions p16 nautch - seductive Indian dancing girl p80 burra - respected, chota - little p110 jezailchi - rifleman 1839–1902 India military p217 sirkar - servant p286 chop off nose may signify illicit relations Typos: p60 "Notbytrainshedidn't!It'smybusinesstoknowthat!" p68 "voilent" is violent p90 "scoughed" is archaic for scoffed (at) p95 "trapesing" arch. traipsing p105 "weedle" is wheedle p183 lashless mullah is later seen for the last time, but re-appears p241 "she added" may be he (hide spoiler)]

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ki Longfellow

    Another Fantastic Talbot Adventure Talbot Munday never fails to provide excitement and adventure with his storytelling. King of the Khyber rifles is no exception. Read and enjoy.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Espen

    King–of the Khyber Rifles by Talbot Mundy Carrol and Graf 1985 $3.95; 395 pages ISBN 0881841692 I enjoy reading old books. This one is only 101 years old at this point, but I enjoy the act of getting into the mind of someone from another age. Written in 1916, Talbot Mundy's adventure story isn't that remote, but there was some dialogue at the beginning that I found very difficult to follow. A slangy exchange between Athelstan King and another officer reminded me how far language can change in 100 yea King–of the Khyber Rifles by Talbot Mundy Carrol and Graf 1985 $3.95; 395 pages ISBN 0881841692 I enjoy reading old books. This one is only 101 years old at this point, but I enjoy the act of getting into the mind of someone from another age. Written in 1916, Talbot Mundy's adventure story isn't that remote, but there was some dialogue at the beginning that I found very difficult to follow. A slangy exchange between Athelstan King and another officer reminded me how far language can change in 100 years. I've had this one on the shelf for years, and I'm glad I finally read it. It inspired S. M. Stirling's The Peshawar Lancers, and it was fun to read, but I doubt I'll ever come back to it. Mundy's Theosophy is just too weird for me. Other books of a similar vintage are a little easier for me to get into.

  12. 4 out of 5

    J.

    One of the classics of India in the time of the Raj and with the hero involved in the Great Game of forestalling the usual native revolt. Exotic settings, disguises, the fate of all India hanging in the balance!!It sucks you into the adventure pretty quickly, but a lot of the action turns out to be traveling- on trains, cars, carriages, up the Khyber pass, into the mysterious valley, into the secret mountain, back and forth through rocky passages and lots of cave,... a lot of traveling and lots One of the classics of India in the time of the Raj and with the hero involved in the Great Game of forestalling the usual native revolt. Exotic settings, disguises, the fate of all India hanging in the balance!!It sucks you into the adventure pretty quickly, but a lot of the action turns out to be traveling- on trains, cars, carriages, up the Khyber pass, into the mysterious valley, into the secret mountain, back and forth through rocky passages and lots of cave,... a lot of traveling and lots of caves... Mundy depends a great deal on movement in his books, with occasional chunks of rather not very involving action. Still, the suspense keeps the reader moving from page to page for most of the book and it has much less of the blocks of pseudo-philosophical pronouncements that take up a lot of his Tros Of Samothrace. At least, King's wisdom on the "real" India comes in small bites.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    Not a bad old yarn, reminiscent of both Kipling and Haggard. If you make it through the slow sections and somewhat repetitious philosophical speeches that Mundy has put into his characters' mouths, it's a decent enough adventure story with an interesting twist. I came to read this after hearing about this book being an inspiration for S.M. Stirling's "Peshawar Lancers" which I liked very much. Beware of the free download Kindle edition - it's full of bad OCR transcription from an old print versio Not a bad old yarn, reminiscent of both Kipling and Haggard. If you make it through the slow sections and somewhat repetitious philosophical speeches that Mundy has put into his characters' mouths, it's a decent enough adventure story with an interesting twist. I came to read this after hearing about this book being an inspiration for S.M. Stirling's "Peshawar Lancers" which I liked very much. Beware of the free download Kindle edition - it's full of bad OCR transcription from an old print version - half of the time the text says "be" when it should "he", for example. A cleaner edit would make this easier to read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Isidore

    Mundy's once famous novel owes a lot to certain predecessors, especially Haggard's She, by comparison with which it seems cautious and conventional, if not parochial, and there are few plot developments which are not wholly predictable, but it's hard to dislike such a confidently crafted and good-natured yarn. Unfortunately, for me, the book peaks early, with a splendidly sustained atmospheric tour-de-force spanning two chapters in which King and his associates cross the Khyber Pass by night. Th Mundy's once famous novel owes a lot to certain predecessors, especially Haggard's She, by comparison with which it seems cautious and conventional, if not parochial, and there are few plot developments which are not wholly predictable, but it's hard to dislike such a confidently crafted and good-natured yarn. Unfortunately, for me, the book peaks early, with a splendidly sustained atmospheric tour-de-force spanning two chapters in which King and his associates cross the Khyber Pass by night. This episode oozes mystery, suspense and even the uncanny, and the warmed-over Haggard which occupies the rest of the book comes as an anti-climax.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Hippocleides

    This is very similar to Haggard's "She," in that a Western man travels into a remote province full of exotic peoples and places, and encounters the ultimate exotic entity: a strong-willed, beautiful, murderous woman, always alternating between laughter and flashing-eyed anger, who deep down just wants a MAN so they can rule their Shangri-La together, and maybe conquer the world. At the very least "She" starts out with an intriguing MacGuffin. This starts out, and indeed continues, with a lot of This is very similar to Haggard's "She," in that a Western man travels into a remote province full of exotic peoples and places, and encounters the ultimate exotic entity: a strong-willed, beautiful, murderous woman, always alternating between laughter and flashing-eyed anger, who deep down just wants a MAN so they can rule their Shangri-La together, and maybe conquer the world. At the very least "She" starts out with an intriguing MacGuffin. This starts out, and indeed continues, with a lot of stilted, repetitive dialogue.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    Swashbuckling adventure story of conspiracy, espionage, disguise, cults, and fighting (cry out: "Kutch dar nahin hai!" before tackling a project assignment) during the British Raj. Somewhere between Kim and She. Swashbuckling adventure story of conspiracy, espionage, disguise, cults, and fighting (cry out: "Kutch dar nahin hai!" before tackling a project assignment) during the British Raj. Somewhere between Kim and She.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    This a wonderful book - a cross between Kipling and Rider Haggard with lots of adventure, mysterious spies and the Khyber Pass to boot. A really good read which bounds along but also delineates the main characters well.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Francis

    An above average old fashioned swashbuckler - nuff said.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Skyelr

    Started a little slow but once I got into it it was a fun read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Evelyn

    I had a hard time getting through this book, and was glad every time I wasn't reading about the only female character in it. I had a hard time getting through this book, and was glad every time I wasn't reading about the only female character in it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gerard Conway

    Excellent adventure fiction from the early 20th Century, weirdly and sadly topical in its cynical view of imperial entanglements in Afghan tribal warfare.

  22. 4 out of 5

    A

    Will dazzle and enrapture

  23. 4 out of 5

    Paul Cornelius

    A somewhat mixed adventure story, King of the Khyber Rifles fails at its aspirations towards poetic imagery and the mundane philosophic bromides taken from the worst excesses of Theosophy. On the other hand, Mundy is clever with the turn of a phrase, the working of words, and often contradictory thoughts of his characters. It is a wonderful period piece, a glimpse of a vulnerable British Raj at the beginning of the Great War. And it plots out itself in a fashion that maintains interest, although A somewhat mixed adventure story, King of the Khyber Rifles fails at its aspirations towards poetic imagery and the mundane philosophic bromides taken from the worst excesses of Theosophy. On the other hand, Mundy is clever with the turn of a phrase, the working of words, and often contradictory thoughts of his characters. It is a wonderful period piece, a glimpse of a vulnerable British Raj at the beginning of the Great War. And it plots out itself in a fashion that maintains interest, although the Great Reveal of the novel is clear from the moment King meets with the Rangar in Delhi. There are better adventure writers. Some such as Haggard were actually more experimental with teasing out an element of Darwinian Naturalism as well as Realism in their writing. (And, of course, Mundy all but steals directly from Haggard's She in one of his plot elements, here.) Kipling was much more the master of the lyrical than Mundy. Give him his due, nonetheless, Mundy and his mix of 19th century mannerisms under assault by a new age of machine guns in war on one hand and old style Victorian spiritualism on the other, makes for a worthy read. There is an almost tangible feel of its times in its pages.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Osama Siddique

    The era of the Great Game; mysterious eastern woman who controls the outlaws in the North West; the threat of Jihad; the lone, valiant caucasian secret service agent to thwart it - in many ways the exotic, orientalist and at times enjoyable but utterly ludicrous recipe for weaving a yarn in the colonial era remains largely consistent across many books from the time. Athelstan King, Yasmini, Rewa Gunga, Bull-with-a Beard, Germans and Turks conspiring to start a jehad against the British, fantasti The era of the Great Game; mysterious eastern woman who controls the outlaws in the North West; the threat of Jihad; the lone, valiant caucasian secret service agent to thwart it - in many ways the exotic, orientalist and at times enjoyable but utterly ludicrous recipe for weaving a yarn in the colonial era remains largely consistent across many books from the time. Athelstan King, Yasmini, Rewa Gunga, Bull-with-a Beard, Germans and Turks conspiring to start a jehad against the British, fantastical landscapes, deep pools and caverns, and an outlandish plot. This makes H. Rider Haggard look like high literature but Talbot Mundy was a writer for his times and wrote 39 novels, meeting much success. Not much is revealed about the background of Yasmini who is brown and blonde - looking quite a bit like a Peroxide Auntie - who cleverly adopts the persona of an old legend ( Greek man/General from 200 years ago, his brown-blonde consort) and rules the loyalty of the most wicked and ferocious looking Afridis with some deft dancing and a dagger as well as a gold bracelet or two with carved symbols. Don't ask me how. Just enjoy the ride, which occasionally reminds one of boyhood thrills at such stories.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    It was magic to my 11 year old self - total colonialist romanticism. As a college student I reread it. It participated in all the orientalism Edward Said explored in his scholarship. Tthe landscape of the book, however, the caves and mountains of Afghanistan, were probably the most vivid images I took away. The book influenced my belief that the US would fail in Afghanistan-because it had left me with a sense of an indomable landscape and people...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Wes F

    Read on my iPhone via Serial. Just so-so, though interesting setting in British colonial India, with the Khyber Pass as a focal point. Though this was a "Khyber Pass" of fantasy...and the book somewhat over the top in terms of characters & plot. Read on my iPhone via Serial. Just so-so, though interesting setting in British colonial India, with the Khyber Pass as a focal point. Though this was a "Khyber Pass" of fantasy...and the book somewhat over the top in terms of characters & plot.

  27. 5 out of 5

    F

    Really I would give this book 2.5 stars. That the writer is talented there is no doubt but I felt like the book dragged on too long. A little editing goes along way. Maybe he was being paid by the word.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ralph Carlson

    This is the second time I have read this great book and liked it more this time than I did the first time. Excellent book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Donald

    A fairly simple adventure story I must that the reason I read this I loved the movie.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mike Davis

    Idiotic adventure

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.