She by H. Rider Haggard
H. Rider Haggard published She in 1887. 130 years later, She is a memorable, if strange, read. It is a romantic action-adventure seen in a fun-house mirror; almost offensive at times to modern sensibilities, but still intriguing.
The two main characters are Leo Vincey and our narrator, his adoptive father L. Horace Holly. Holly describes himself as ugly — ape-like, with bandy legs, over-long arms and thick black hair that grows low on his forehead. He is a committed misanthrope and misogynist. Leo is a golden Apollo with a cap of blond curls. With Leo came a strange iron-bound chest, to be opened when Leo turns 25.
On Leo’s twenty-fifth birthday, they open the chest, to find a pot-shard inscribed in Greek and several translated documents. The shard and documents tell the story of an Egyptian princess, Amenartas, who fell in love... Read More
H. Rider Haggard(1865-1925)
Sir Henry Rider Haggard wrote the Allan Quatermain (King Solomon’s Mines) adventure stories.
Ayesha (She) — (1886-1923) Publisher: Drawing on his knowledge of Africa and of ancient legends, adventure writer H. Rider Haggard weaves this disturbing tale of Ayesha, the mysterious and immortal white queen of a Central African tribe. She, or “She-who-must-be-obeyed,” is the embodiment of the mythological female figure who is both monstrous and desirable, and deadlier than the male. She is a pioneering work in the “Lost World” genre.
She by H. Rider Haggard
Ayesha, the Return of She by H. Rider Haggard
H. Rider Haggard returns to his story of star-crossed lovers Ayesha and Leo Vincey in Ayesha, the Return of She. The sequel was published in 1905, nearly twenty years after the publication of She. The world has changed, and Haggard’s storytelling has changed to match.
Haggard remains best known for King Solomon’s Mines, and She is the book of most interest to literary scholars. Ayesha, the Return of She is a decent sequel that does very little to open a window on the thoughts, values and fears of the late Victorian/early Edwardian era. Ayesha has more adventure and action, but characterization is diluted, especially that of Ayesha herself.
When this adventure begins, H. Horace Holly and his adopte... Read More
The Ghost Kings by H. Rider Haggard
The Ghost Kings was H. Rider Haggard's 32nd novel, out of an eventual 58. Written during the years 1906 and 1907, it first saw book publication in September 1908. This novel was penned immediately before Haggard set to work on another African adventure tale, The Yellow God, but of the two, The Ghost Kings is the superior creation. It is more exciting and more detailed, with a greater emphasis on fantasy elements and the supernatural. Indeed, with the exception of its South African setting and the inclusion of such real-life characters as the Zulu chief Dingaan (brother of Chaka) and councilor Mopo (both of whom also featured prominently in Haggard's 1892 masterpiece Nada the Lily), the tale could almost be a novel of hard fantasy.
The book cleaves fairly well into two parts. In the first, we meet Rachel Dove, a British missionary's daughter who has bee... Read More
Montezuma's Daughter by H. Rider Haggard
Written between June 5 and September 3, 1891, H. Rider Haggard's 16th novel out of an eventual 58, Montezuma's Daughter, was ultimately published in October 1893. The previous winter, Haggard and his wife Louisa had been in Mexico hunting for treasure and, on February 8th, the author had learned of the death of his 9-year-old son "Jock" back in England. The grieving father wrote Montezuma's Daughter as what his biographer D.S. Higgins calls a "therapeutic act" and, following and preceding two of the author's greatest works — 1892's "Nada the Lily" and 1894's "The People of the Mist" —demonstrates that the author, despite his bereavement, was then at the very top of his game.
Montezuma's Daughter takes the form of a memoir written by a half Englishman (his mother was Spanish) named Thomas Wingfield. Sitting dow... Read More
The Wizard by H. Rider Haggard
[FanLit welcomes new guest reviewer Sandy Ferber. H. Rider Haggard is Sandy's favorite author.]
The Wizard, H. Rider Haggard's 21st novel out of an eventual 58, was initially released as a serial in a publication called The African Review and then in its complete form in the October 29, 1896 Arrowsmith's Christmas Annual for Boys. It was the third of four African novels that Haggard wrote from 1895-97, the others being Black Heart and White Heart, Swallow and Elissa, all of which I can highly recommend, by the way, especially Swallow.
The Wizard tells the story of Thomas Owen, a British missionary who ventures into the wilds of south central Africa to bring the Good Word to a tribe calle... Read More
The Mahatma and the Hare by H. Rider Haggard
The Mahatma and the Hare was first published in book form in 1911, and is one of H. Rider Haggard's rarer titles. The idea for this short novel came to Haggard, he states in the book's preface, after he had read a newspaper account of a hare that had swum out to sea to avoid being captured by pursuing hounds. In Haggard's story, the self-called mahatma — a spiritual man who is able, when asleep, to view "The Great White Road" on which the souls of those recently departed enter heaven — encounters the hare of the title after that animal's death. The hare tells the mahatma of the hardships and cruelties of his recent life: of how his entire family had been hunted to extinction; of his narrow escapes from hunters, greyhounds, and other hunting dogs; and, finally, of how he met his end. The hare also gets to debate the issue of animal rights with his chief hunter/enemy, near the book's end. T... Read More