Set in British India in the early 1800s, The Man Who Would Be King is a short story by Rudyard Kipling. Many say it is based on the life of American Quaker Josiah Harlan. In my opinion, this is a true adventure that will entertain you with scenes from a not too distant past.
The British built an extensive railway network across India, and this story starts off in a train compartment. Forced to travel in an Intermediate compartment along with ordinary folks, the narrator of our story comes across a colorful British character called Peachy. While slugging whiskey from our narrator’s flask, he tells tall stories and convinces him to give a message to someone 10 days hence. Peachy and Dravot, his friend, are bent upon becoming Kings, and they set off for the remote Afghan province of Kafiristan, a mountainous country in the top right corner of Afghanistan.
The book recounts the adventures of Peachy and Dravot as they set off on this difficult journey across the Khyber Pass, traversing snowy mountains, surviving marauders and avalanches, until they come upon this remote kingdom. The book was also made into a movie starring Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Christopher Plummer, all very young at the time.
The Man Who Would be King is old fashioned adventure set in simpler times.How the two British soldier manage to blend with the natives and hustle their way across many kingdoms is something that should be read at your own pace. I recommend reading the book before watching the movie.
This book is free on the Kindle. So there is no reason to miss reading it. Kipling has always been one of my favorite authors. The man who brought us the Jungle Book brings us this fabulous tale from Imperial India.