Talbot Mundy

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Talbot Mundy (born William Lancaster Gribbon) (23 April 1879 – 5 August 1940) was an English writer. He also wrote under the pseudonym Walter Galt.[1]

Life and work[edit]

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. Mundy spent much of his early life as a "confidence trickster" and petty criminal.[1] However, once Mundy moved to the United States, and "been nearly killed in a mugging",[1] his personality changed to an "honest and upright citizen".[1] By age 29, he had begun using the name Talbot Mundy. Mundy started 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 practised by British forces. Mundy went on to become a regular contributor to the pulp magazines, especially Adventure and Argosy.[2]

Many of his novels, including his first novel Rung Ho!, and his most famous work King of the Khyber Rifles, are set in India during the British Raj in which the loyal British officers encounter ancient Indian mysticism.[1] The novels portray the citizens of Imperial India as enigmatic, romantic and powerful. His British characters have many encounters with the mysterious Thugee Cults.

His related Jimgrim 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.[3] Discussing the Jimgrim books, fantasy and mystery bibliographer Mike Ashley states "The characters are fully developed...and the writing is tight and powerful".[1]

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.


Mundy's work has been very influential on later writers. 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,[4] Andre Norton,[5] H. Warner Munn, Marion Zimmer Bradley and Daniel Easterman.[6] James Hilton's novel Lost Horizon was partly inspired by Mundy's work.[7]


  • Donald M. Grant (compiler), Talbot Mundy: Messenger of Destiny (Donald M. Grant, publisher, Inc., 1983)
  • Brian Taves, Talbot Mundy, Philosopher of Adventure (McFarland, 2005)
  • Brian Taves (editor) Talbot Mundy, Winds From the East (Ariel Press, 2006) (an anthology of Mundy short stories and articles)
  • Ellis, Peter Berresford, The Last Adventurer: The Life of Talbot Mundy 1879–1940 (Donald M. Grant Publishers Inc., Rhode Island, 1984). Peter Berresford Ellis was the first to discover Talbot Mundy’s real name of William Lancaster Gribbon while researching at Rugby School. His researches revealed the details of Mundy’s extraordinary career before he arrived in the USA and became a citizen under his assumed name. Ellis contributed an essay with his initial findings to Don Grant’s bio-bibliography Messenger of Destiny and was encouraged and given approval and support by Mundy’s widow, Dawn Mundy Provost, and his nephew Major-General Nigel St.G. Gribbon, to publish the full definitive biography of this remarkable personality.



  • Guns of the Gods (1921)
  • The Winds of the World (1917)
  • Hira Singh (1918)
  • King of the Khyber Rifles (1916)
  • Jimgrim and Allah's Peace (1936)
  • The Seventeen Thieves of El-Kalil (1935)
  • The Lion of Petra (1932)
  • The Woman Ayisha (1924)
  • The Lost Trooper
  • The King in Check (variant title Affair in Araby,1933)
  • The Mystery of Khufu's Tomb (1935)
  • The Caves of Terror (variant title The Gray Mahatma, 1924)
  • Jungle Jest (1932)
  • The Marriage of Meldrum Strange
  • Om: The Secret of Ahbor Valley (1924)
  • The Hundred Days (1931)
  • The Nine Unknown (1923)
  • The Devil's Guard (variant title Ramsden, 1926)
  • Jimgrim (1931) (sometimes Jimgrim Sahib
  • The Gunga Sahib (1934)
  • C.I.D. (1932)
  • The Red Flame of Erinpura (1934)
  • Jimgrim, Moses, and Mrs. Aintree (first book publication of 1922 magazine story, 2008)


Lobsang Pun[edit]

  • The Thunder Dragon Gate (1937)
  • Old Ugly Face (1940)


  • Rung Ho! (1914)
  • The Ivory Trail (1919)
  • The Eye of Zeitoon (1920)
  • Told in the East (Short Stories, 1920)
  • Her Reputation (1923)
  • The Soul of a Regiment (Chapbook Reprint of Short story, 1924)
  • Cock o' the North (1929) (variant title Gup Bahadur, 1929, UK)
  • Black Light (1930)
  • W. H.: A portion of the record of Sir William Halifax (1931) (variant title The Queen's Warrant, 1953, US)
  • When Trails Were New (1932)
  • Caesar Dies (1934)
  • All Four Winds: Four Novels of India (omnibus, 1932)
  • Full Moon (variant title, There Was a Door, 1935)
  • Romances of India (omnibus, 1936)
  • East and West (variant title Diamonds See in the Dark, 1935)
  • The Valiant View (Short Stories, 1939)
  • Winds from the East: A Talbot Mundy Reader (Fiction, Poems and Non-Fiction, 2006)
  • A Transaction in Diamonds: Talbot Mundy in the Pulps, 1911 (The Talbot Mundy Library, volume 1)
  • The Soul of a Regiment (The Talbot Mundy Library, volume 2, NYP)
  • In a Righteous Cause: Talbot Mundy in Adventure, 1913 (The Talbot Mundy Library, volume 3)
  • The Letter of His Orders—Three Short Novels from Adventure, 1913 (The Talbot Mundy Library, volume 4)
  • Love and War–The Battles of Billy Blain (The Talbot Mundy Library, volume 5, NYP)
  • The Sword of Iskander (The Talbot Mundy Library, volume 6, NYP)
  • A Soldier and a Gentleman (The Talbot Mundy Library, volume 7)


  1. ^ a b c d e f Mike Ashley, "Mundy, Talbot", in St. James Guide To Fantasy Writers, edited by David Pringle. St. James Press, 1996. ISBN 1-55862-205-5 (pp. 432–34)
  2. ^ Pulp Culture – The Art of Fiction Magazines.Frank M. Robinson and Lawrence Davidson/ Collectors Press Inc 2007 (p.39).
  3. ^ http://theosophy.katinkahesselink.net/talbut-mundy/mundybio.html
  4. ^ The Last Adventurer:The Life of Talbot Mundy, 1879–1940 by Peter Berresford Ellis, Donald M. Grant, 1984. (pg. 19).
  5. ^ Partners in wonder: women and the birth of science fiction, 1926–1965 by Eric Leif Davin. Lexington Books, 2006 (pg. 156).
  6. ^ Talbot Mundy, Philosopher of Adventure by Brian Taves,McFarland, 2006 (pg. 258).
  7. ^ California Utopia: Point Loma,1897–1942 by Emmett A. Greenwalt. Point Loma Publications, 1978 (pg. 115)


External links[edit]