A short story inspired by the travels of American adventurer Josiah Harlan that follows two British ex-soldiers who set off from 19th century British India in search of adventure and end up as kings of Kafiristan (now part of Afghanistan).
boiling water would fall on the dust with the flop of a frog, but all our weary world knew that was only pretence. It was a shade cooler in the press-room than the office, so I sat there, while the type ticked and clicked, and the night-jars hooted at the windows, and the all but naked compositors wiped the sweat from their foreheads and called for water. The thing that was keeping us back, whatever it was, would not come off, though the loo dropped and the last type was set, and the whole round earth stood still in the choking heat, with its finger on its lip, to wait the event. I drowsed, and wondered whether the telegraph was a blessing, and whether this dying man, or struggling people, was aware of the inconvenience the delay was causing. There was no special reason beyond the heat and worry to make tension, but, as the clock-hands crept up to three o’clock and the machines spun their fly-wheels two and three times to see that all was in order, before I said the word that would set them off, I coul
The 19th century abounded in books about the royalty of obscure little principalities, which let young girls dream about becoming princesses. This is the boys' equivalent, in which a pair of British ne'er-do-wells knocking about the Raj decide to make for the frontier of Afghanistan with a plan to set up as rulers over the unsophisticated natives. They get what they deserve. To me, the narrator, a journalist, is the most interesting character, though he's very much in the background.
Love this story. Makes me want to watch the movie. Good read.
My favorite work of Kipling, anyway.
Forgettable story about a couple of crazies who venture out into the deserts of the Middle East in order to take their wrongful places as the king-gods of “Kafiristan.” Much rape and pillage ensues, but none of it is enjoyable or even okay.
A great story of quest and adventure, friendship and power. Although I was introduced to this particular story through Caine's film, I made it a point to read this to evaluate Kipling's original. Well-written, descriptive with a class of its own. Short and must-read! Inspires the adventurous traveler in you.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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