The Official Blurb
The Man Who Would Be King tells the story of two British adventurers in British India who become kings of Kafiristan, a remote part of Afghanistan. It was inspired by the exploits of James Brooke, an Englishman who became the “white Raja” of Sarawak in Borneo, and by the travels of American adventurer Josiah Harlan, who claimed the title Prince of Ghor.
The story was first published in The Phantom Rickshaw and other Tales (Volume Five of the Indian Railway Library, published by A H Wheeler & Co of Allahabad in 1888). It also appeared in Wee Willie Winkie and Other Stories in 1895, and in numerous later editions of that collection. It is the basis for John Huston’s 1975 film of the same name, starring Sean Connery and Michael Caine as the “kings”, and Christopher Plummer as Kipling.
This short story tells of high adventure and excitement and is very well read. If you haven't seen the film (1975) then listen to this reading of the original before you do. It's an audio treasure, the reader puts such heart and soul into the reading it reduced me to tears at the end, and I'll be hard pushed to offer a better recommendation than that.
Strangely the story doesn't relate incident after incident of death defying adventure in the Indiana Jones style but rather in a more step by step advancement style. At each stage you know what the men are up to, and through use of the blind belief that an Englishman can do anything and a bit of stiff-upper-lip they climb to the dizzy heights.
It's simply a thrilling story well written and incredibly well read. Once again I feel myself having to rate this story as a MUST-LISTEN!
Total Score 8/9
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Listen to part 1 ( of 3 )