Originally published in 1933.
|The dust jacket from the original|
hardcover printing in 1933.
The story starts in Afghanistan where a local rebellion has caused the British government to evacuate all 80 of the white residents via airplane. The last airplane out is a high performance luxury airplane carrying just 4 passengers. Turns out, their pilot is a hijacker armed with a pistol and he takes them far off course into modern-day Tibet. They have a very rough landing on a high mountain glacier and the hijacker dies.
The four survivors start to walk across the glacier but are soon discovered by a party from a nearby monastery called Shangri-La. They are escorted back the monastery and settle in for a long wait for the next supply party to work it's way up to the monastery. But, that's not a problem because this monastery is on the edge of a hidden lush and beautiful valley full of people that seems to have been forgotten by time.
And that's not all this valley is hiding.
I am rating this book 3 stars out of 5. Despite it's tremendous reputation, I found it to be quite slow and more than a little anti-climactic. I found the introduction to the novel in the inside of the front cover to be more interesting than the actual novel. For example, the name Shangri-La was entirely made up for this book and has since entered the English language as another word for a remote, exotic, earthly paradise.
Multiple editions of this novel can be found on Amazon.com here: Lost Horizon by James Hilton.
I did like this quote from the book: "People make mistakes in life through believing too much, but they have a damned dull time if they believe too little."