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The Man Who Would Be King

The Man Who Would Be King by Rudyard Kipling
By: (1865-1936)

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.

First Page:

The Man Who Would be King


Rudyard Kipling

Published by Brentano’s at 31 Union Square New York


“Brother to a Prince and fellow to a beggar if he be found worthy.”

The Law, as quoted, lays down a fair conduct of life, and one not easy to follow. I have been fellow to a beggar again and again under circumstances which prevented either of us finding out whether the other was worthy. I have still to be brother to a Prince, though I once came near to kinship with what might have been a veritable King and was promised the reversion of a Kingdom —army, law courts, revenue and policy all complete. But, to day, I greatly fear that my King is dead, and if I want a crown I must go and hunt it for myself.

The beginning of everything was in a railway train upon the road to Mhow from Ajmir. There had been a deficit in the Budget, which necessitated travelling, not Second class, which is only half as dear as First class, but by Intermediate, which is very awful indeed... Continue reading book >>

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Reviews (Rated: 5 Stars - 1 review)

Reviewer: - May 19, 2013
Subject: The Man Who Woukd Be King
The review by FNH states it well. The reader does a great job.

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