We finished the last issue on a cliffhanger, so naturally it makes sense for us to pick up with the life story of Rudyard Kipling.
We start on the 27th June 1907, Oxford. Kipling is talking to Sam Clemens, better known to us as Mark Twain. Clemens says that they got Kipling good. Kipling mentions his daughter and says that he doesn't know what to do. As he walks away, the narrative remarks that his gift for words has failed him, as it always did when he needed it most.
Kipling's unsympathetic editor takes extended leave: 'He had contracted malaria- very bad luck in swamp-free Lahore.' He was then given free reign and becomes increasingly popular. In 1905 he left India for London.
Unfortunately, London already has its literary hero in the shape of Oscar Wilde.
Wilde is arrested and sent to jail for sodomy. Kipling prospers once more, preaching the gospel of empire, and is blessed with three children by his wife Carrie. Josephine, Elsie and John.
Before they leave the US, Josephine catches influenza and Kipling tries to write what Locke asked of him, but the words won't come. He leaves Josephine's room to go to bed and our old frind Pullman smothers her with a cushion.
For a year, kipling doesn't touch a pen. Then his muse stirs and he writes 'How the whale got his throat'. It's a real pity that I can't post that here, cos it's a really cool version they do. And if you haven't read the story then you totally should. Find it here.
Kipling continues to write stories where small and powerless protagonists lay low bigger agressors. He also often writes about the monster that conceals its true size.
John is reported missing in action, and Kipling goes to find Locke.
Kipling says that he will save John himself, wrap him in stories. Locke says that it is too late, and that the power that resided in Kipling is now gone. The next morning, Kipling hears that John is dead.
Next issue we return to the story of Tommy Taylor.