This is one of those ‘classic’ boyhood books that I never actually read as a boy, so thought I’d make amends by reading it now. Kim is the story of an orphaned son of an Irish soldier growing up on the streets of Lahore, who uses his natural intelligence, charm and quick wit to progress through his early life.

When we first meet Kim he is begging and running small errands for local people, but he soon becomes the chela (or disciple) of a great Holy Man, accompanying him on various travels, meeting all sorts of characters along the way. Later Kim is trained up and used by the British army in transporting secret messages, thus becoming part of the ‘Great Game’ as he calls it, between Britain and Russia in Central Asia.

Kim by Rudyard Kipling

Kim is an intriguing portrait of India and its inhabitants during the late nineteenth century. As young Kim grows up amongst the diverse peoples, cultures and religions of the Indian subcontinent, he discovers how to not only fit in and relate to the different people he encounters, but chameleon-like, learns to actually become like them, changing his appearance, speech and demeanour as necessary. This is a fun book; a great yarn that any adventurous boy will love.