Kim by Rudyard Kipling (Lisa Hill, ANZ LitLovers)

I enjoyed this.  It's one of those classic books I always meant to read, part of my British heritage known around the world because of Kipling's influence on the scouting movement. 
Kim is a boy enlisted by chance to work for the British Secret Service in India. He is orphaned by a sick mother and a feckless Irish father in service in India, and he lives in the streets.  One day he is captured by the British, who find his ID papers in a scapula around his neck - and they send him off to school.  A certain Commander recognises his potential as an 'agent' because he is familiar with Indian street life and its languages.
Kim takes to the streets on a quest for enlightenment with a Buddhist Lama, but is able to serve His Majesty in various other ways as well, including acquiring precious papers implicating an Indian prince's conspiracy with Russians to the north.  One of his accomplishments in to quell an Indian uprising and in this he is aided by Muhtab, a Muslim, and Hareem, a Hindi - and nowhere is their quisling role questioned.  (I read a similar short story to this in which a British boy singlehandedly quells a riot, in The Man Who Would Be King, and no, it's not ironic.)
Kipling was an old colonialist, after all, and everything I've ever read by this author champions the British Raj and the Empire.  It's a fair bet that he'd never have got a Nobel Prize in these post-colonial days!

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