It’s India month at the Sheffield Popular Fiction Reading Group, and my report on Talbot Mundy’s King of the Khyber Rifles can now be read online on the group’s blog.
Like Buchan’s Greenmantle, also published in 1916, this is a story about one man sent to combat a Turkish plan to inflame the Empire’s Muslims into revolt. It’s a wild and sensational tale, with echoes of Kipling and Rider Haggard – and occasional pre-echoes of Indiana Jones. You can find a Kindle version of the novel free at Project Gutenberg.
I’ve put another Talbot Munday book onto my ever-lengthening to-read list. Hira Singh : When India Came to Fight in Flanders. (1917) This is about an Indian regiment captured in Flanders, and sent as prisoners to Turkey, from where they escape and make their way back to India.
That’s the earliest book I know about Indian soldiers fighting in Flanders.
I started to wonder whether there was any fiction about Germans or Turks trying to undermine the Empire before 1916, and then remembered that I’d read one in connection with my current research.
In 1915, the magnet Library published Hurree Singh’s Peril, in which unpleasant subcontinentals are out to kidnap the dusky nabob of Bhanipur. As Hurree explains: