|08-15-2010, 09:10 AM||#1|
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Mundy, Talbot: The Nine Unknown V1. 15-AUG-2010
Talbot Mundy (born William Lancaster Gribbon) (April 23, 1879 – August 5, 1940) was an English writer. He also wrote under the pseudonym Walter Galt.
Born in London, at age 16 he ran away from home and began an odyssey in India, Africa, and other parts of the Near and Far East. By age 29, he had begun using the name Talbot Mundy, and a year later arrived in the United States, starting 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. Many of his novels, including his first novel Rung Ho!, and his most famous work King of the Khyber Rifles, are set in India under British Occupation 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. 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.
His related Jim Grim 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.
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.
The "Nine Unknown Men" are a fictional secret society founded by the Mauryan Emperor Asoka around 270 BC to preserve and develop knowledge that would be dangerous to humanity if it fell into the wrong hands.
The nine men are embodiment of good and face up against nine Kali worshippers, who sow confusion and masquerade as the true sages. The story surrounds a priest called Father Cyprian who is in possession of the books but who wants to destroy them out of Christian piety, and a number of other characters who are interested in learning their contents.
The nine books entrusted to the Nine Unknown contain information on (1) Propaganda and Psychological warfare, (2) Physiology, including secrets concerning the "touch of death", (3) Microbiology, (4) Alchemy, (5) Communication, including communication with extraterrestrials, (6) Gravity, and anti-gravity devices (Vimanas, mythological flying machines of ancient India), (7) Cosmology, including hyperspace and time-travel, (8) Light, and a technology capable of modifying the speed of light and (9) Sociology, including rules predicting the rise and fall of empires.
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