A Bit of His Life, by Bradford M. Day

Talbot Mundy was born in London on April 23, 1879. He was educated at Rugby, and served nearly ten years, beginning in 1900, as a government official in Africa and India. While in India, he wandered all over the sub-continent on horseback, and even into Tibet. Eastern occult lore first attracted, then fascinated, his active and unorthodox mind. Mundy absorbed all he could learn of the Indian beliefs.

Government service next brought him to Africa where he studied first-hand the nature magic of many of the tribes and cultures of East Africa. His quest for more information on this subject impelled him to travel extensively through Egypt and the Near East and even into parts of Arabia. This was truly adventurous at the time, but only in character with the man who killed dozens of lions and successfully hunted for ivory.

Mundy visited Australia, and Mexico as far south as Yucutan. He first arrived in the United States in 1911, and liked the country so much that he decided to stay and become a citizen.

Mundy quickly turned his energies to writing, and an article, "Pig Sticking in India," was accepted and published in the April 1911 issue of Adventure Magazine, itself only a few months old. Another article and his first story, "The Phantom Battery" soon appeared. For years thereafter, Adventure had short stories, novelettes, novels, and serials by this master teller of tales in most of the issues that were printed.

The motif and locale of the stories and very infrequent articles usually stemmed from the areas, people, and occult knowledge previously mentioned. The manly art of self defense must have occupied some of Mundy's attention during his early career. A series of stories about Billy Blain, pugilist, appeared under the pen-name of Walter Gait, beginning with the February 1912 issue of Adventure. Two articles were also printed under this pseudonym.

Scribners of New York produced his first book, "Rung Ho" in 1914, then apparently forgot him. In 1916, Bobbs-Merrill of Indianapolis published one of his most famous stories, "King--of the Khyber Rifles," and Cassell and Company of London brought out "The Winds of the World." Both were well received, and Mundy's career to a moderate renown was on its
way.

In succeeding years he continued to write for Adventure and other magazines, most of the stories being snapped up by various book publishers. Many of the books were reprinted in several editions by different companies, and, confusing to a bibliophile, the English publications ware often re-titled.

During the 1920's Mundy bought a part of the Point Loma estate in California, called The Cliffs. He settled there for several years and became a member of the Theosophical Society presided over by Katherine Tingley. A half-dozen of his books were written there and, "Om; the Secret of Ahbor Valley," shows the influence of this occult society.

He contributed many articles to Tingley's theosophical magazines, her most noted publication being the Theosophical Path. After her death in 1929, Mundy left Point Loma but always retained his interest in and sympathy with Theosophy.

Mundy continued writing almost to the time of his death on August 5, 1940. In all, forty-nine books were produced under his name, thirty-nine of which were original works. At least one-hundred and fifty stories and articles appeared in magazines.

It is still too soon to properly evaluate Mundy's importance in the stream of literature. His style of writing, choice of language, is smoothly readable. One "fault," if such it be, is a sometimes too carefully contrived buildup to plot situations. This careful skill did result in glowing word-pictures and living characters.

TalbotMundy.com is a website devoted to Talbot Mundy, mystical adventure, epics, books, essays, Theosophy, British Foreign Service, India, Australia, Africa, Robert E. Howard, Dorje the Daring, thunderbolts, Gobi desert, Atlantis, Nepal, Jimgrim, King of the Khyber Rifles, Gray Mahatma, Om the Secret of Ahbor Valley, Queen Cleopatra, Lud of Lunden, Helma, Praetor's Dungeon, Tros of Samothrace, Full Moon, Purple Pirate, Caves of Terror, Rung Ho!, Black Light, Bubble Reputation, Caesar Dies, Caves of Terror, C.I.D., Cock of the North, Devil's Guard, Diamonds See in the Dark, East and West, Eye of Zeitoon, Full Moon, Gunga Sahib, Guns of the Gods, Gup-bahadur, Her Reputation, Hira Singh's Tale, Hundred Days, Woman Ayisha, I Say Sunrise, Ivory Trail, Allah's Peace, Jungle Jest, King in Check, Lion of Petra, Lost Trooper, Marriage of Meldrum Strange, Mystery of Khufu's Tomb, Nine Unknown, Old Ugly Face, Purple Pirate, Ramsden, Red Flame of Erinpura, Romances of India, Rung Ho, Seventeen Thieves of El Kalil, Soul of a Regiment, There Was a Door, Thunder Dragon Gate, Told East, Valient View, When Trails Were New, Winds of the World, Pigsticking in India, Single-handed Yachting, Phantom Battery, Blooding of the Ninth Queen's Own, For Valour, Chaplain of the Mullingars, and many other things related.


COMPILED BY BRIAN TAVES