Caves of Terror

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Caves of Terror

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Also, a few larger books may be resampled to fit into the system, and may not have this searchable text background. For printed books, we have performed high-resolution scans of an original hardcopy of the book. We essentially digitally re-master the book. I also pointed out that Mundy used Eastern wisdom and mysticism as an important element of his stories, having many of his adventurous heroes develop emotionally and spiritually as a consequence of their adventures.

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While in Caves of Terror the extremely fast-paced adventure tends to obscure the mysticism, in Black Light the adventure element is extremely minimal, but the novel is deeply steeped in Oriental mysticism. While perhaps not Mundy's best novels, the first is a turning point in his writing, and the other a clear attempt to take his novels beyond pulp magazines audiences. Mundy would return to the white man's quest for esoteric knowledge in many of his later classics such as Om - The Secret of Abhor Valley and The Nine Unknown.

In Caves of Terror , the gray mahatma, a high-level Indian mystic wishing to draw Athelstan King [hero of Mundy's early classic King -- of the Khyber Rifles ] into an allegiance to use Indian mystic "super-science" to bring India from under the yoke of British colonialism, has been doomed to death for leaking secrets to the dangerous and cunning, but ever so seductive Yasmini, who wishes to use these same powers to dominate the World.

Jeff Ramsden, a burly and down-to-earth American is sent to help out the more cerebral King.

ISBN 13: 9780898041804

King and Ramsden are led, like Dante by Virgil in The Inferno , through a series of caves beneath an ancient temple by the mahatma, revealing different levels of wisdom and the limitations and tortures of those stranded at any one level. It is also a trial by fire to establish whether King, in particular, is worthy to share the ancient knowledge which would make world conquest child's play.

The episodes where the usually unflappable hero King must rely on the intellectually inferior but gutsy and loyal Ramsden to make it through are particularly well done. Then, defeated by King, the mahatma, doomed from the start, selflessly sacrifices himself as a tool to expand his superiors' knowledge.

Caves of Terror

While the breathtaking pace of the story tends to marginalize Mundy's underlying message of Eastern wisdom's insights into many things unexplained by Western science, it is this same pace which likely earned it its "best novel of the year" accolade from the readers of Adventure. Some seven years later, Mundy wrote perhaps one of his most personal novels in terms of expounding his beliefs in theosophy and Eastern wisdom in general.

In brief, the novel, set in India, details how Joe Beddington, heir to an industrial fortune but his mother's footstool, develops mentally and spiritually under the influence of a yogi and others, to eventually overcome his mother and claim Amrita, the lovely and wise orphan of British parentage raised in seclusion by temple priests.

The Unknown Terror (1957) - Spelunking in the Cave of Death

Mundy worked and reworked the story, giving it a much more polished and literary feel than his action-packed Adventure offerings, hoping to see it produced as a play, then as movie. But, the novel, deemed too long and too full of Eastern mysticism a topic largely unheard of in the conventional literature of the time , was rejected by the magazines. Mundy had to cut it by 20 percent to satisfy his American publisher Bobbs-Merrill, and even then received mixed reviews.

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Bobbs-Merrill's cuts resulted in the discourses of the yogi, which prefaced and introduced the "message" of each chapter, being entirely omitted from the American edition, though they were maintained in the British edition. Oddly enough, Ariel Press, which primarily publishes works on mysticism and related topics, opted to reprint the American edition. Having read a number of other Mundy titles where such sayings preface chapters, it is clear that without these passages the novel is much weakened.

Nonetheless, for all it's flaws Black Light is a fine, if a bit simplistic, psychological novel with some well-presented mysticism and interesting characters. While the character of strong willed schoolteacher Annie Weems and Amitra, the young woman born of the West but raised in the East, have parallels in other Mundy works, the ruthlessly controlling Mrs. Beddington, a personification of evil is an interesting anomaly. I read Black Light when I was about 20 and found it exceedingly tedious, however, I'm sure that I would have found Caves of Terror wonderfully exciting back then.

Now some odd years later, upon rereading Black Light , I found much substance and thought-provoking matter, whereas Caves of Terror seemed more a pyrotechnic display of super-science gadgets, without a great deal of supporting plot. In the same sense as my maturing has altered my view of the books, I tend to think that Caves of Terror reflects a Mundy, still at the gee-whiz stage, only just beginning to delve into subjects that would bring him to espouse theosophy, whereas in Black Light he has matured and could enunciate in a more rigourous and structured manner his understanding of Eastern philosophy.

Whether you read Mundy for the A dventure or the M ysticism, you would be hard pressed to find a better writer, or to not find some enjoyment in these two titles.