Pre-order - Shipping in April 2024
|Rudyard Kipling & Armel Gaulme
|Number of pages
This edition is a gorgeous hardcover book, 224 A4 pages, 1.4 kg (3.08 lbs), brimming with more than 500 illustrations (watercolours and graphite travel sketches) all printed in their original size! Its luxury cover will be in imitation leather with gold embossed ornamentation. Delicately textured fine arts paper mimics Armel Gaulme’s original sketchbook quality, and his spectacular classical 19th century illustrations beautifully complement Kipling's story.
To wave us off on this marvelous adventure, we have Erik L'Homme's blazing introduction, himself well suited to participating in this quest, having had many adventures of his own, including several years in Pakistan, which you can read about in his book, Steps in the Snow.
The incredible artist and Academy Award Winner Alan Lee, famous for his illustrations of J.R.R. Tolkien's worlds and his conceptual design work for Peter Jackson's film adaptations The Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit, wrote a splendid afterward!
The French edition of Armel's The Man Who Would Be King won the 2022 Illustration Award at the famous convention Les Imaginales in Epinal, a French event specializing in fictional literature.
Mention the name Rudyard Kipling and most of us immediately think of The Jungle Book, his brilliantly clever short stories such as How the Camel Got Its Hump, or his poetry If being oft quoted by many, whether they know him to be its creator or not.
He was only 23 when he wrote the incredible The Man Who Would be King, a beautiful and ironic fable, revealing the dangers of arrogance and hubris, inspired by the sensational stories of early explorers, and the campaigns of Alexander the Great.
This talented and prolific author was the first English speaker to receive the Nobel Prize of Literature in 1907, and his imaginative writings continue to capture new audiences, delighted to discover his vast repertoire of exuberant creativity!
India, late 19th century.
Daniel Dravot and Peachy Carnehan, two reckless British adventurers and friends, share the same ambition: conquer the legendary land of Kafiristan. Before setting out, they agree to a simple, but strict contract: no temptations; hence no alcohol, nor women; until they achieve their goal of the kingdom.
“They think we are gods.”
When Dravot realises that he and fellow mercenary Carnehan will indeed be able to trick the natives into believing that they are gods, the damage is done. From that moment onwards, Dravot's obsession takes hold, possessing him, inevitably leading him to a fatal end.
“Neither God nor Devil, but a man!”
In 1975, famous film director John Huston adapted the novel into a movie starring Sean Connery and Michael Caine as Daniel and Peachey. Huston expanded their adventures into a rich screenplay truly faithful to Kipling's original short story. Kipling himself certainly would have loved Huston's vision.
Columbia Pictures 1975
"Daniel and Peachey were really one man, and once they were together, they could do anything."
- Sean Connery
"I read so much Kipling, it's in my unconscious. You start a verse, i'll finish it."
- John Huston, Film Director
Being fully occupied, working in various fields and juggling different techniques is essential to me, as is the duty to transmit my knowledge and experience to the next generations of artists. This is why I chose to be both an illustrator and a classical drawing instructor at the same time!
Teaching traditional techniques of observation, perspective and anatomy at The George Méliès Institute of Animation in Paris is simultaneously a challenge and source of joy. My life as an illustrator is a dream come true and I have worked with many great publishers such as Caurette, Glénat and Bragelonne, illustrating stories from Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, among other great writers.
John Howe, Alan Lee, the illustrators and painters of the Golden Age are some of my main inspirations and, naturally, Rudyard Kipling is one of my greatest inspirations. After making so many drawings based upon The Man Who Would be King, I have spent more time on this short story than Kipling himself!
The fascinating adventures of Daniel and Peachey had obsessed me for years. The world Kipling created felt so vivid and tangible to me that I needed to draw it out. I spent over 3 years drawing every nook and cranny of the legendary territories of Kafiristan, all the places, characters, fauna, and costumes, etc. I began learning one of the local languages called Khowar, spent hours reading about the nineteenth century Himalayas, and have collected numerous books about the traditions of the Kafir people.
I tried not to be influenced by the visuals of John Huston's adaptation, but instead by the fantastic ideas he brought to the screenplay, which strengthened my decision to keep exploring Kafiristan along with Daniel and Peachey far beyond the written words of Kipling.
One day, my very good friend and editor Jean-Christophe Caurette, who shares my passion for Kipling's story, saw some of my sketches and loved them. Immediately he gave me his support, which led me to continue the adventure and illustrate the whole story. More than a hundred pages of sketches afterwards, I can say the journey was worth it.
As you can imagine, this project is very dear to my heart, and I do hope you will share my passion for it :)
This book was crowdfunded on Kickstarter from January 23 to February 19, 2024.