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on 11 October 2012
Everyone has seen the film I suppose, all glorious colour and cinematic thrills, and to be honest a little bit off the plot, but it's a good start. Read the book and you get the real story of Holly, Leo and Ayesha, and believe me it is well worth it. Although written in un-PC times, and you may find some of this difficult to ignore, it is still gripping. No long desert treks and volcanos, but descriptive journeys that will make you shudder, and good old fashioned friendship and loyalty amongst the hardships. The writing style too is plain and straightforward, easy to read, and easy to enjoy. Go on, try this classic, you won't be disappointed.
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on 9 October 2016
The author has a terrific imagination, and the best bits of the book are where he describes (imaginary) places which were evidence of a once great civilisation - eg the city of Kor. And the notion of a beautiful terrifying woman who is 2300 years old and apparently immortal is a fascinating concept.

Although I enjoyed the book, one or two aspects were a bit weak. Leo is all brawn and no brain, and rather disappointing if we are meant to believe him to be the reincarnation of the ancient Egyptian Killekrates. And we wait a long time to meet She, and what a right bore she turns out to be, sounding off about love and death etc at enormous length, the female equivalent of the club bore. Less would have been more in her case. I skipped most of her pronouncements.

The Hammer film based on the book starred Ursula Andress as She - poor choice in my view as I go along with Evelyn Waugh's description of Andress as "like a Swedish games mistress - a right cockdrop".

Towards the end of the book She leads the 3 Englishmen to the pillar of fire: they cross a bottomless abyss on a narrow plank and soon the pillar of fire consumes She and she ages 2300 years in 30 seconds. (sorry - spoiler alert - but there's a sequel! - so she must have recovered). Sounds just like the last part of Indiana Jones and the last Crusade (remember the "he chose poorly" bit?). In fact many exotic adventure stories owe a lot to H Rider Haggard. The current Sky series Hooten and the Lady is an example. Haggard's work must have been regarded as strikingly original in his day and it isn't surprising that his books are still in print.
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on 21 September 2017
Written in the golden age of fantasy, a dramatic adventure of daring do.
The attitudes reflect the prejudices of an age of imperialism and make dominance and may make this unpalatable to many, but this is in the mould of the classical epic or Norse saga.
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on 18 October 2013
I first read this when I was about thirteen - half a century ago. I really wanted to read this old classic with new eyes. I had vague memories of really enjoying it and being transported away on an an adventure as only young boys are - or where back then.
So, how was it? Well, I must say I don't think it will be easy reading for modern sensibilities. Back in the '50s it was still possible as a youngster to believe these Victorian adventures for boys. They were written in a time, now long gone of gentlemen, playing the white man, obligations and a world full of 'savages' needing 'civilising'.
I found the writing style heavy going for modern tastes but I also found myself reading with an adult's understanding and found myself questioning and thinking about Haggard's beliefs, observations of society and his views of 'civilised' behaviour.
The story itself, well, I have to admit, it didn't move me like it did last time I read it. It seems to drag on but I put that down to a style in which reading was everything... a time without electric lights, TVs and all the other myriad distractions of modern life. This was written as an adventure for boys when times and outlook were very different.
I'd like to think I'm wrong, but I don't think most readers under 50 will appreciate this book's tyle or content - but DO read it and get a lesson in Victorian assuredness in it's global place and how to prepare young minds for their position within it.
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on 3 March 2015
I read the Ayesha collection several years ago, in the Spanish edition. Although I went through all the books, I must say that it was dragging. I blamed the translation, until I finally bought this ebook. The plot moves slowly, and the late 19th/early 20th century writing style is a bit too overwhelming.
Nevertheless, I am happy that I got the copy: what I wanted here was to locate an excerp that I used to love, the one when the characters are on their way through Kor and they find the beautiful statue of the goddess of the inhabitant of Kor, The Truth, waiting for her children to take away the veil that covers her features. It was for me one of the most powerful moments of my teenager reading years.
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on 20 August 2013
Very much of it's time and very politically incorrect but it still has it's moments and of course the concept of the incredibly beautiful but incredibly old superwoman is still intriguing. The main problem is that the hero and her love interest is incredibly boring, just a great big handsome dumb bunny which definitely makes one wonder about her general intelligence and the conventions of the time don't allow descriptions of incredible sex to make her obsession with him credible.
Interesting more as a revelation of Victorian attitudes to, sex, race and wild animals (They shoot anything that moves!) than as a tragic romance, which is probably what Rider Haggard thought he has writing.
Pedro
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on 20 February 2018
well, I saw the film when I was young, the images/drama stayed with me. I was very disappointed by HR Haggards' writing style - he waffles on at excruciating length about things which seem irrelevant to the story, but he maybe thinks will impress the reader.........yaaaawwwwwnnn. I really wanted it to be amazing, sadly the only word is 'anticipointment'.
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on 3 September 2013
Another cracking tale from Mr Haggard, I have said 'long winded' as there are several ancient scrolls and tablets that are translated in the book and we are given the original hieroglyph text then a Greek or Arabic then finally an English version, all of this takes several pages. Also the pace of the book isn't as gripping as King Solomon's mines or Allan quartermain.
But it is an intriguing story with good character writing.
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on 29 January 2014
I know you can download lots of different versions of this and other other classic H Rider Haggard novels some free and some cost.. Which ever version you go for just be prepared for old English terms that would never be used today but also enjoy the quality of the content. This and most of the other original Alan Quartermain adventures are just brilliant and a bargain read.
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on 8 June 2017
Read it over 35 years ago - did my degree dissertation on Haggard.

Can only imagine what a great big budget mini series could do with this utterly fantastic yarn.
But it would need a real talented director / writer, and an 'adult' HBO "GOT" style treatment
that this book so rightfully deserves.
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