Subtitled without undue modesty ""the sequel to Rudyard Kipling's Kim,"" Murari's latest (Taj; The Shooter) uses Kipling's...

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THE IMPERIAL AGENT

Subtitled without undue modesty ""the sequel to Rudyard Kipling's Kim,"" Murari's latest (Taj; The Shooter) uses Kipling's Irish-Indian hero Kimball O'Hara, now a young man capable of love and disillusionment, as the central figure in a story of the first stirrings of Indian nationalism. Unlike Kipling's meditative, suggestive novel, Murari's is crammed with melodramatic incident. The main story launches Kim, following a hint of an assassination plot against the visiting Prince George, in pursuit of the two killers--a pursuit that is interrupted first by his rescue of Parvati, a fugitive young woman with whom he falls in love but who is separated from him in Bombay; and then by his rescue of Lakshmi, a young prostitute whom he returns from Bombay to her home in a remote village, only to be jailed for his trouble. Kim's chivalry is contrasted with the duplicity of his old employer, Colonel Creighton, who has hired the assassins himself to create an excuse for tightening the reins of British rule. Murari provides Kipling's Colonel with a son, Richard, who can be killed off, a daughter, Elizabeth, who can be seduced and grief-stricken, and an estranged wife, Alice, who can return unexpectedly to his life just in time to open a long-overdue rift between father and daughter--and who, in the meantime, just happens to be sheltering Kim's beloved before Parvati is kidnapped by her own estranged husband and Kim is supernaturally called from prison to rescue her. A literally miraculous escape leads to a happy ending for the principals--and a symbolic defeat for the thoroughly nasty colonials and their agents. Murari's soap-opera plotting will insult anyone who cherishes Kim, but may well appeal to readers who aren't close enough to Kipling's novel to feel let down.

Pub Date: July 6, 1989

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1989