Black light (Barbara Cartland's ancient wisdom series)
by Talbot Mundy
ISBN 0553121308 (0-553-12130-8)
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Softcover, Bantam Books, 1978
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Book summary: Born in London on April 23, 1879, at age 16 Talbot Mundy ran away from home and began an odyssey in India, Africa, and other parts of the Near and Far East. Mundy spent much of his early life as a "confidence trickster" and petty criminal. However, once Mundy moved to the United States, and "been nearly killed in a mugging", his personality changed to an "honest and upright citizen". By age 29, he had begun using the name Talbot Mundy. Mundy started his writing career in 1911. His first published work was the short story "Pig-sticking in India", which describes a popular, though now outlawed, sport practiced by British forces. Mundy went on to become a regular contributor to the pulp magazines, especially Adventure and Argosy. Many of his novels, including his first novel Rung Ho!, and his most famous work King of the Khyber Rifles, are set in India during the British Raj in which the loyal British officers encounter ancient Indian mysticism. The novels portray the citizens of Imperial India as enigmatic, romantic and powerful. His British characters have many encounters with the mysterious Thugee Cults. His related Jimgrim series, which has mystical overtones and part of which is available over the web from theosophical sites, ran in Adventure magazine before book publication. Mundy was associated with Theosophy's movement, a friend of Katherine Tingley. Discussing the Jimgrim books, fantasy and mystery bibliographer Mike Ashley states "The characters are fully developed...and the writing is tight and powerful". Beginning in the late 1920s Mundy wrote a number of stories about Tros of Samothrace, a Greek freedom fighter who aided Britons and Druids in their fight against Julius Caesar. Mundy's work has been very influential on later writers. The long buildup to the introduction of his Indian Princess Yasmini and the scenes among the outlaws in the Khinjan Caves clearly influenced fantasy writers Robert E. Howard and Leigh Brackett. Other science-fiction and fantasy writers who cited Mundy as an influence included Robert A. Heinlein, E. Hoffmann Price, Fritz Leiber, Andre Norton, H. Warner Munn, Marion Zimmer Bradley and Daniel Easterman. James Hilton's novel Lost Horizon was partly inspired by Mundy's work. Talbot Mundy died on August 5, 1940. Acino Acinonyx
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