On this Victoria Day weekend, we continue with our nightly Victorian adventure serial, adapted from Conan Doyle's novel The Tragedy of the Korosko, written in the year of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, 1897. The first in our new series Tales for Our Time, this serialization recounts what happens when a group of western tourists fall into the hands of the Isis of their day - the Mahdists of the Sudan's Dervish country. From tonight's episode:
The great red sun was down with half its disc slipped behind the violet bank upon the horizon. It was the hour of Arab prayer. An older and more learned civilisation would have turned to that magnificent thing upon the skyline and adored that. But these wild children of the desert were nobler in essentials than the polished Persian. To them the ideal was higher than the material, and it was with their backs to the sun and their faces to the central shrine of their religion that they prayed. And how they prayed, these fanatical Moslems! Rapt, absorbed, with yearning eyes and shining faces, rising, stooping, grovelling with their foreheads upon their praying carpets. Who could doubt, as he watched their strenuous, heart-whole devotion, that here was a great living power in the world, reactionary but tremendous, countless millions all thinking as one from Cape Juby to the confines of China? Let a common wave pass over them, let a great soldier or organiser arise among them to use the grand material at his hand, and who shall say that this may not be the besom with which Providence may sweep the rotten, decadent, impossible, half-hearted south of Europe, as it did a thousand years ago, until it makes room for a sounder stock?
A century on, it's sweeping not just "the rotten, decadent, impossible, half-hearted south of Europe" but penetrating deep into Scandinavia.
If you're a Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club You can hear Part Eight of our serialization of The Tragedy of the Korosko simply by clicking here and logging-in. All previous episodes can be found here down the page and in reverse order. I'm thrilled by your enthusiasm for our new audio venture, and we're already moving ahead with plans for the second Tale for Our Time.
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