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The Rajah of Dah   By: (1831-1909)

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The Rajah of Dah, by George Manville Fenn.

Here is another book by George Manville Fenn, full of mystery, suspense and terror to coin a phrase. Ned, a boy of sixteen, who has just left school, and who has been brought up by an uncle who is a naturalist and who is often away, begs that he may be allowed to come on the uncle's next expedition. By the way, how could he have been brought up by an uncle who was often away? Simple, he was placed as a boarder in the house of a local clergyman, who educated a few boys in his house: this was often the case in the nineteenth century.

They get to somewhere in Burma, and travel up a river till they come to a settlement where there are some British. At that time Burma was a British Protectorate. The local Burmese ruler is an absurd and loathsome tyrant. Ned makes friends with a local English boy, Frank, and they have various adventures together, including the capture of an eighteen foot crocodile. However, the British people in the settlement fall out with the Rajah, who has his eye on a 21 year old British girl, and wishes to add her to his harem. This is where the major perils begin.

Some of the perils are similar to those in "The Middy and the Ensign", which is not surprising, as the action takes place in the same part of the world.

As always with this author, it is a brilliant read or listen.




"Ahoy, there! All on board?"

"Yes; all right."

"Got all your tackle?"

"I think so."

"Haven't forgotten your cartridges!"

"No; here they are."

"I'll be bound to say you've forgotten something. Yes: fishing tackle?"

"That we haven't, Mr Wilson," said a fresh voice, that of a bright looking lad of sixteen, as he rose up in the long boat lying by the bamboo made wharf at Dindong, the little trading port at the mouth of the Salan River, on the west coast of the Malay Peninsula.

"Trust you for the fish hooks, squire," said the first speaker. "But, I say, take a good look round, Murray. It's an awful fix to be in to find yourself right up in the wilderness with the very thing you want most left behind."

"It's very good of you, Wilson," said the gentleman addressed, a broad shouldered man of forty, tanned and freckled by the eastern sun, and stooping low to avoid striking his head against the attap thatch rigged up over the stern of the boat, and giving it the aspect of a floating hut. "It's very good of you, but I think we have everything; eh, Ned?"

"Yes, uncle; I can't think of anything else."

"Knives, medicine, sticking plaster, brandy, boxes, spirit can, lamp, nets. Ah, I know, Ned: we've no needles and thread."

The lad laughed merrily, and took out a kind of pocket book, which he opened to display the above necessaries, with scissors and penknife as well.

"Well done, Ned! I believe you have more brains than I have. I can't think of anything else, Wilson. I only want your good wishes."

"Matches?" said the gentleman on the wharf.

"Plenty, and we have each a burning glass."

"That's right, and now once more: take my advice."

Johnstone Murray, enthusiast over matters of natural history, shook his head, and rather a stern look came into his eyes as his nephew watched him eagerly.

"But, hang it, man! you can make excursions up and down the river from Dindong, and up the little branches as well. Surely you can get all you want from here, and not lose touch of civilisation."

"But we want to lose touch of civilisation, my dear fellow. What do you say, Ned? Shall we stop here?"

"No, no, uncle; let's go now."

"Why, you foolish boy!" cried the gentleman addressed as Wilson, "you do not know what you are saying, or what risks you are going to run."

"Oh, uncle will be careful, sir."

"If he can," said the other, gruffly. "I believe you two think you are going on quite a picnic, instead of what must be a dangerous expedition... Continue reading book >>

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