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Quest for Kim: In Search of Kipling's Great Game Paperback – 27 Mar 2006

17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray (27 Mar. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719564522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719564529
  • Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 176,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'A brilliant jigsaw' (Patrick Leigh Fermor, Spectator, Books of the Year)

'This beautifully written and beguiling travel book will fascinate even those who have never read Kim' (Scotsman)

Book Description

'A fascinating, brilliantly written book' Times Literary Supplement

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A GERMAN SNIPER'S bullet, intended to kill a young French officer in the First World War, instead buried itself in a book he was carrying in his breast pocket. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 Oct. 2003
Format: Paperback
I liked this Peter Hopkirk book for the same reason I've liked his others - *the Great Game* and *Foreign Devils On the Silk Route* - they're always exciting accounts of interesting, far away places and times. In this book, Hopkirk goes to the Indian subcontinent to try to trace the route taken in Kipling's *Kim* by the two main characters, Kim himself and his Tibetan monk friend/master. I liked the-indepth description of Lahore and Hopkirk's account of seeking out what landmarks remain from Kim's day - the kind of task many a modern backpacking traveller would enjoy recreating. The anecdotes are, as in all Hopkirk's books, fascinating and made me want to read more. The story of going to Umballa to find Strickland's bungalow (Strickland the master spy/adventurer of the Great Game in Kipling's stories) was especially evocative - the ruined Anglican church, the old bungalows now grown shabby and unkept, the possible location considered - all magical. Hopkirk enjoys himself throughout this book. The trip to the hill station of Simla is perhaps the best part of all, with Hopkirk turning up a lot of interesting information and speculation. The point of his book is to help you enjoy Kipling's *Kim* more, (as Dover Wilson's *What Happens in Hamlet* helps you enjoy that play the more). I thoroughly recommend it. The only place I think I differed with the author is the last chapter, where he quotes a forgotten novel speculating on what Kim would have thought about India's independence. (In the forgotten novel quoted, Kim joins the resistance movement!Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Jun. 2004
Format: Paperback
Rudyard Kipling's "Kim" has been a favourite since childhood. This book sets out to discover who were the people behind Kipling's characters and the author's research has been meticulous and detailed, uncovering false assumptions by earlier researchers. However, I found the author's repeated self-deprecation irritating and unnecessary. There seemed to be a degree of repetition of thoughts, differently expressed, and I cannot decide if this was a literary device to underline the strength of the author's commitment or a way of padding out the narrative. It is still a good read and should be welcomed by all who read and appreciate Rudyard Kipling.
The book arrived in pristine condition.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kim Lovelace on 21 Nov. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It took me fifty years to eventually read "Kim" with joy and enthusiasm, now I hope to retrace at least some of the route taken by Kim and the Lama. Peter Hopkirk's lovingly written book has done most of the work I expected to have to carry out myself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ernest W. Adams on 21 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Something of a disappointment, unfortunately. It contains a lot of useful background material and is great for learning the political context of the story and the context of Kipling's own life. I'm giving it four stars (60-80%) because it's well-researched and well-written and the material is generally interesting. But there's too much of the author talking about himself and his own activities. Worst of all, there's not a single map showing any part of Kim's travels! He seems to assume that you know where things are despite the fact that many of the names have changed. He also dwells rather longer on the horrors of Partition than is necessary considering that it took place long after the events of Kim and long before the present day.

A good book to have if you are a Kim fan, but definitely not the only one you need.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Neil Kernohan on 25 April 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a widely acclaimed chronicler of The Great Game and related historical episodes that occurred across the Near East, Central and Southern Asia throughout the 19th and early 20th century, Hopkirk was well qualified to write this wonderfully accessible book about Kipling's classic novel.

The book's chapters juxtapose plot narrative from the novel alongside his own investigations - from official Kipling archives, historical sources and other published material - into who exactly inspired Kipling's characters (Colonel Creighton, Mahbub Ali, The Babu etc). Each chapter also describes his own trips to various locations in the Punjab and Himalayan foothills where the story is largely set in order to better understand and bring to life, at least as far as modern political and logistical circumstances allow, other elements of the story such as Kim's train journey from Lahore to Umballa, and the lasting legacy of the Raj in places like Shimla and Lucknow.

Hopkirk's book is probably best appreciated if you are already familiar with the story of "Kim" but if you haven't yet read Kipling's novel then as long as the historical backdrop of British Raj v Russia territorial rivalry is a subject of interest it may inspire you to do so.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paul Morris on 6 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
Being a lover of Kipling's Kim I looked forward to a history lesson on the events behind the novel
Peter Hopkirk did not disappoint - he really went to town on the detail and "put you there" right by his side.Thoroughly enjoyable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By AlineDobbie on 29 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had first read Quest for Kim way back in the first years of this century. I then ordered it last year as a gift for a young Indian and took it with me on my annual return to India. Sadly I was not able to connect with the intended recipient and Graham and I decided to read it or in my case re read it when relaxing in southern India. For me it was a real pleasure to see Graham enjoying it so much. In the last 15 years we have travelled the length and breadth of India and thus the story resonated clearly with him. I too loved it again. The fact that I had lived in Saharanpur, that we know the Ganga's plains and have been to the source of the holy river and even to the Wagah Border and Amritsar made it special. No I have not been to Pakistan. It is a fun book and I recommend it to those who are interested in travel within India. We then, on our return watched the DVD of Kim with our little grandsons - it does not quite do the subject justice but then we are biased!India: The Peacock's Call
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