A delightful adventure story set in the India still under the Raj, A book
I never tire of re-reading, there’s always something new I learn or
Talbot Mundy created a popular series of adventure stories and books in the early 20th century, starting with stories in Adventure magazines, serialized novels, and later on radio programs and movies. among the most popular: King of Khyber Rifles.
In 1926 he published OM The Secret of Ahbor Valley… perhaps his greatest novel with its metaphysical theme.
I discovered it in 1965 at the same time I had found that fabulous book about King Tut: Tutankhamen, Life of a Pharaoh, by Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt, that started me on my obsession with that wonderful king.
Why did I pick it up?
who truly seeks the Middle Way, the Middle Way
will open, One step forward is enough.”
THE SAYINGS OF TSIANG SAMDUP [http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/7656/tsamdup]
I had already devoured Jack Kerouac’s books, including “The Dharma Bums”, with its theme about Tibetan Buddhism. I was open to new books about Eastern philosophy, and was also was a fan of Sax Rohmer and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Since Mundy was a popular contemporary of theirs, I decided to try it and have never regretted it.
OM opens with an amazing series of catastrophic events. Could this have happened anywhere else than in India? When I first read it, I laughed till I cried.
The adventure story explores the caste system, the various religions, the Secret Ways, the many different tribal areas under the Raj and their widely different customs.
It all centers around a mission founded by an American millionaire philanthropist to teach the natives their own religion along with basic hygiene to improve their way of life. Protaganist Cottswold Ommony, an ‘old time forrester’, was one of the three trustees appointed to oversee the project, the other two, the woman who runs the mission and a mysterious RingDing Geelong Lama that no one has ever seen.
To complicate the story, there are rumors of a mysterious stone, a huge Jade, with magical properties in the legendary Ahbor country where ‘Masters’ are reputed to live, of an adopted daughter of the woman who runs the mission, and a report of a stolen piece of that stone. On top of that is the ongoing mystery of the sudden disappearance of Ommony’s pregnant younger sister and her husband, the mission’s doctor, 20 years before.
That piece of Jade turns up in Delhi, is handed over to Ommony to investigate, and this marvelous adventure takes off.
I highly recommend this book to all adventure lovers.
This book has been kept in print by various publishers.
You can sometimes find copies, worn-out, in used book stores.
Powell’s Book Store has a good supply of Talbot Mundy’s books.
You can also read it online at: OM The Secret of Ahbor Valley OnLine [http://arthurwendover.com/arthurs/mundy/ommundy10.html]
Or better site at OM The Secret online at Dustfall [http://www.geocities.com/athens/forum/7656/om.html]
Talbot Mundy, his life, with links to sites about him and his books, and an extensive biography of his life:
Talbot Mundy on Wikipedia