That Mr. Hopkirk comes to the study of "Kim" as an historian, and not as an author of literature is immediately apparent to the reader of "Quest for Kim". The prose could hardly be called beautiful, and phrases and large passages are repeated throughout the work. With that fact recognized, Hopkirk's pedestrian prose is certainly sufficient to convey the information he has put together, and even the most ill-formed of his writing cannot cover his deep and passionate love for his subject. And this is what makes "Quest for Kim" such a joy to read, even for one who knows much of what Hopkirk says: his love of the work is contagious and inspiring; it brings pleasure to see how much pleasure he gets from it. Many readers may, as this one was, be uninterested in whether the characters in "Kim" were modelled after real-life contemporaries of Kipling, let alone where these real-life men lived, and yet the sections -- and there are many of them -- seeking out the homes of Colonel Creighton and Lurgan Sahib never fall into dullness because they are buoyed up with their historically interesting descriptions of late 18th-century India and the fun that Hopkirk clearly had looking into the matter.
On finishing "Quest for Kim", one may be left with the feeling that the historical information contained therein could have been greater in both quantity and detail. One will certainly not feel greatly informed on the literary qualities of "Kim", beyond that Hopkirk is extremely impressed by them. "Quest for Kim" is not a great scholarly tome, but it is an enjoyable read, encompassing a light, welcoming introduction to a study of British India and "Kim" itself wrapped in a pleasant narrative of one man's brief travels through Pakistan and India.