Author: Rudyard Kipling
Publication Date: 1900
Review Score: 5/10
Set in India, just after the Second Afghan War, which ended in 1881, the story of Kim unravels against the backdrop of the British/Russian political conflict, known as the Great Game, which took place in Central Asia.
The story follows a young boy named Kim who is the orphan son of an Irish soldier and poor white woman who have both died in poverty. Although Kim is white, he is seen as any other young Indian boy and spends his days begging and running small errands around the busy streets of Lahore.
One day Kim encounters an old Buddhist monk who is on a quest to find the River of the Arrow and cleanse himself before his life is over. Kim decides to join the Lama on his journey as his Chela, begging for him and making sure he is not taken advantage of on the roads of India.
The pair travel across the country enjoying the rich life and scenery of India until fate throws up a group of soldiers who knew Kim’s farther and what to train him to be a soldier.
Kim soon becomes wrapped up in the Great Game, travelling across India, attending school and continuing to run errands for a variety of unique characters, whilst all the time longing to travel with the Lama and complete their quest.
Although I found the historic setting of this book very interesting and was charmed by each and every one of the characters I must say I found it quite hard going. Kim and the Lama make a delightful pair and are likeable from the first page, but the language and slow pace of the events make it quite a difficult read.
This is definitely not a book for the last thing at night in bed, as it will just send you to sleep, but I would recommend it for anyone who is interested in the history of India or the life of the poor during the late 1800’s.
In summary, Kim is difficult to read and take in fully, but has excellent characters and a highly interesting back drop for a novel.