In a remote part of 19th-century Afghanistan, two British adventurers pursue their ambition to rule an empire. Using betrayal, threats, and guns, they win the respect of a primitive tribe and become worshipped as gods until one day they draw blood, and the game is up. "The Man Who Would Be King" is an action-packed tale about the pitfalls of colonialism and the temptations and evils of power. This volume also includes the stories "The Phantom Rickshaw", "The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes", "The Mark of the Beast" and many more.
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Worth a Second Read
The Man Who Would Be King and Other Stories is among the best short story collections I have listened to so far. The stories were so condensed and crafted that I listened to the book back-to-back to pick up all of the nuances of details I had missed in my first reading.
I would compare The Man who Would Be King and Other Stories to Ray Bradbury's collections, because they were both great storytellers. However, Kipling's focus on India during the height of British colonial empire lends his stories the air of the exotic and the political.
Sean Barrett performed the hundreds of characters with craft and creativity, especially women, children, soldiers, Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs. There were many castes and classes of characters he had to voice over a broad range of Anglo-Indian society at that time. When I heard Barrett, I heard India.
If I could talk any character from The Man Who Would Be King and Other Stories out to dinner, I would take Kipling himself. He had served as a reporter and correspondent in India. Any reporter and correspondent that served in his stories represented him, eager to hear stories in this exotic land in a time of conflict. Stories literally walked into the door of this reporter's office. A dinner with him would be fascinating because he would regale me for hours. As a storywriter myself, I would ask him questions about his craft.
Read and listen to Kipling's books. He is an exemplary short story writer and a pioneer of its form.