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SFF Author: H. Rider Haggard

H. Rider Haggard(1865-1925)
Sir Henry Rider Haggard
wrote the Allan Quatermain (King Solomon’s Mines) adventure stories.



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Jess: An all-but-forgotten winner from H. Rider Haggard

Jess by H. Rider Haggard

Editor’s note: Because it’s in the public domain, Jess is available free on Kindle.

Jess was first published in the U.K. in March 1887, and was H. Rider Haggard‘s fifth novel out of 58. Haggard wrote this book toward the end of 1885… and, remarkably, in just nine weeks! But then again, this is the same man who, earlier in 1885, was able to write the astounding sequel to King Solomon’s Mines,


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Colonel Quaritch, V.C.: Far from a feeble novel

Colonel Quaritch, V.C.: A Tale of Country Life by H. Rider Haggard

Here is a free Kindle Version.

Almost 120 years before British author J.K. Rowling faced the pressure and the problem of how to follow a string of phenomenally successful novels, another British writer was faced with the same dilemma. H. Rider Haggard, between the years 1885 and 1887, had come out with four of the most popular novels of the late Victorian era: King Solomon’s Mines (1885);


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Mr. Meeson’s Will: Half adventure novel, half legal thriller

Mr. Meeson’s Will by H. Rider Haggard

Editor’s note: Mr. Meeson’s Will is free in Kindle format

Mr. Meeson’s Will was first printed in book form in October 1888, after having first appeared earlier that year in The Illustrated London News. It was H. Rider Haggard’s 11th novel (out of 58), and one in which his experiences as both a writer and aspiring lawyer were given vent. The novel is at once a tale of adventure,


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Beatrice: A love… pentangle

Beatrice by H. Rider Haggard

Editor’s note: This book, which is in the public domain, is available free in Kindle format.

Beatrice was first published in 1890, and was H. Rider Haggard‘s 10th novel, out of 58 titles. Unlike so many of his other books, Beatrice is one that features almost no action scenes whatsoever; no lost races, no adventure, no battles, no supernatural elements. (My editors here at FanLit are thus indulging me once again by allowing me to submit a review of a book by my favorite author,


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Montezuma’s Daughter: Rip-roaring historical adventure

Montezuma’s Daughter by H. Rider Haggard

Free Kindle version.

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.


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Joan Haste: One of H. Rider Haggard’s greatest romances

Joan Haste by H. Rider Haggard

Anyone who reads H. Rider Haggard‘s 19th novel, Joan Haste, will likely be struck with one overwhelming thought: Times sure have changed for women over the last 100 years or so. Today, nothing much is thought of a woman who bears a child out of wedlock, and that illegitimate child will likely bear no stigma on his or her name in adulthood. But back in 1894, when Haggard sat down to write (or, to be strictly accurate,


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The Wizard: A wonder-filled entertainment

The Wizard by H. Rider Haggard

Free Kindle version.

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,


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Heart of the World: Action-packed and exciting

Heart of the World by H. Rider Haggard

Although I had previously read and hugely enjoyed no fewer than 40 novels by H. Rider Haggard, I yet felt a trifle nervous before beginning the author’s Heart of the World. I had recently finished Haggard’s truly excellent novel of 1893, Montezuma’s Daughter — a novel that deals with the downfall of the Aztec empire in the early 16th century — and was concerned that Heart of the World, which I knew to be still another story dealing with the Aztecs,


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Elissa and Black Heart and White Heart: Two classic tales of adventure

Elissa & Black Heart and White Heart by H. Rider Haggard

Editor’s note: Because they are in the public domain, both Elissa and Black Heart and White Heart are available for free on Kindle. To find them, click on the Kindle covers in this review.

The H. Rider Haggard novels Elissa and Black Heart and White Heart are usually to be found (when they can be found at all) together in a single volume,


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Swallow: Action, romance, and some mystical elements, too

Swallow: A Tale of the Great Trek by H. Rider Haggard

No, this is not the Linda Lovelace biography. (Oops, sorry … bad joke.) Rather, Swallow is yet another fine piece of adventure fantasy from the so-called “father of lost-race fiction,” H. Rider Haggard. In addition to some 14 novels depicting the adventures of hunter Allan Quatermain, Haggard penned some dozen or so other books that were set in the wilds of Africa. Swallow, his 22nd novel, was written in 1896,


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Doctor Therne: A terrific medical novel by a great adventure fantasist

Doctor Therne by H. Rider Haggard

Free Kindle version.

Hard as it may be to believe, there was a time in English history when the populace vigorously refused to be protected against the smallpox scourge that so often ravaged the countryside. Indeed, to this day in the 21st century, there are still many people around the world who view vaccination against disease an unsafe practice, and refuse to partake of its proven benefits. Back in 1796, when English doctor Edward Jenner first demonstrated the usefulness of introducing cowpox into an individual to prevent smallpox,


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She: A century-old mirror

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.


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Ayesha, the Return of She: Slighter than the first

Ayesha, the Return of She by H. Rider Haggard

Free Kindle version.

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.


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Lysbeth: Dutch Treat

Lysbeth by H. Rider Haggard

In the summer of 1897, English author H. Rider Haggard took a short vacation in Holland, and just as his winter holiday to the Holy Land in 1900 would inspire him to pen no fewer than three works — the nonfiction book A Winter Pilgrimage (1901), Pearl-Maiden (1903) and The Brethren (1904) — this sojourn to the land of the Dutch would also bear literary fruit. Thus, in 1899,


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Stella Fregelius: Nothing to apologize for

Stella Fregelius: A Tale of Three Destinies by H. Rider Haggard

At the beginning of his 25th novel, Stella Fregelius (1903), H. Rider Haggard deemed it necessary to offer an apology to his public. In this brief foreword, the author warns prospective readers that Stella is not one of his typical tales, and one with “few exciting incidents.” Indeed, those expecting the typical Haggardian mix of lost races, African adventure, big-game hunting, massive battle scenes and historical sweep may be disappointed with this book.


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The Brethren: Another doozy from H. Rider Haggard

The Brethren by H. Rider Haggard

In January 1900, British author H. Rider Haggard and his family ventured forth on a nice long vacation. As revealed in D.S. Higgins’ 1981 biography, the first part of this holiday was beset by bad weather, sickness and delays, as the Haggards made their way from London and on to Italy and Cyprus. But once the family reached the Holy Land, apparently, conditions improved significantly, and the world-famous author was so taken by the many historic sights that he saw there that the experience inspired him to write no fewer than three books: A Winter Pilgrimage (1901),


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The Way of the Spirit: A fast-moving, unusual type of Haggard novel

The Way of the Spirit by H. Rider Haggard

Even in the modern-day 21st century, it can be a difficult situation for a husband to be in love with a woman who just happens not to be his wife. For the Victorian/Edwardian gentleman, however, especially for one of a highly moral and religious bent, the situation must have been even harder, particularly if that man were a well-known and highly respected public figure. And yet, that is exactly the lot that befell renowned British author H. Rider Haggard. I am only familiar with the bald outlines of the case (after having just completed my 42nd Haggard novel,


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Margaret: A full-blooded swashbuckler

(Fair) Margaret by H. Rider Haggard

Every schoolchild knows that in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. But what about the year before that? Did anything of note happen in 1491? Well, as any reader of H. Rider Haggard‘s 31st novel, Margaret, will discover, the answer is: plenty! Margaret, which Haggard wrote from 1905 – ‘06, was initially published in London in September 1907 under the title Fair Margaret,


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The Ghost Kings: A very fine novel from Haggard’s middle period

The Ghost Kings by H. Rider Haggard

Free Kindle Version.

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,


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The Yellow God: An African adventure

The Yellow God: An Idol of Africa by H. Rider Haggard

H. Rider Haggard’s 33rd work of fiction out of an eventual 58, The Yellow God was first published in the U.S. in November 1908, and in Britain several months later. In this one, Haggard deals with one of his favorite subjects — African adventure — but puts a fresh spin on things. Thus, instead of Natal, Zululand, the Transvaal and Egypt, where the bulk of his African tales take place, The Yellow God transpires,


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The Lady of Blossholme: A rousing historical novel with traces of the fantastic

The Lady of Blossholme by H. Rider Haggard

The Lady of Blossholme was Henry Rider Haggard‘s 34th piece of fiction, out of an eventual 58 titles. It is a novel that he wrote (or, to be technically accurate, dictated) in the year 1907, although it would not see publication until the tail end of 1909, and is one of the author’s more straightforward historical adventures, with hardly any fantasy elements to speak of.

The story takes place in England during the reign of Henry VIII,


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Queen Sheba’s Ring: Middling Haggard but still hugely entertaining

Queen Sheba’s Ring by H. Rider Haggard

Editor’s note: The Kindle version of Queen Sheba’s Ring is free!

I am not an author myself, and probably never will be (big sigh), so I can only imagine what a thrill it must be for a writer to see his or her hard work finally appear in print before the public. But can anyone imagine what it must feel like to have three novels released simultaneously?!?! Well, such was the lot for the great H.


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The Mahatma and the Hare: A real charmer

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”


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Red Eve: A red-blooded historical adventure

Red Eve by H. Rider Haggard

For his 37th work of fiction, H. Rider Haggard, the so-called “father of the lost-race novel” and an expert at writing historical adventure tales as well, decided to go back to the Dark Ages. Red Eve, which Haggard wrote in a six-month period from 1908-1909, was ultimately published in 1911, and turns out to be yet another winner from this wonderful storyteller.

In it, we meet Hugh de Cressi, a merchant’s son who is in love with “Red Eve” Clavering,


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THE TADUKI QUARTET: Four stories about Allan Quatermain

THE TADUKI QUARTET by H. Rider Haggard

The great adventure fantasist H. Rider Haggard, over the course of his 40+-year career, wrote 14 novels dealing with the adventures of perhaps his greatest character, English hunter Allan Quatermain. Four of these are loosely connected affairs that have sometimes been referred to as the “taduki quartet,” taduki being an inhaled drug with mystical properties that features in no less than three of those books. Here, for your one-stop taduki shopping, I present four mini-reviews of the books in this remarkable series, in their chronological order of publishing appearance:

Allan and the Holy Flower (1915) — This is one of the 14 books that H.


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Love Eternal: A gold mine for the truly romantic at heart

Love Eternal by H. Rider Haggard

Although English author H. Rider Haggard is popularly known today as “the father of the lost race novel,” such adventure tales of vanished civilizations were scarcely his sole concern. As any reader who has pursued this writer further than his “big 3” (1885’s King Solomon’s Mines, 1887’s Allan Quatermain and 1887’s She) would tell you, Haggard was also very much concerned with the matter of reincarnation and with what I suppose we might call “ love that survives beyond the grave.” These two themes comprise the very heart of She and its three sequels (1905’s Ayesha,


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When the World Shook: Somebody, please hire a screenwriter

When the World Shook by H. Rider Haggard

In 1916, as World War I raged, Henry Rider Haggard, then 60 years old, started to compose his 48th novel, out of an eventual 58. Originally called The Glittering Lady, the novel was ultimately released in 1919 under the title we know today, When the World Shook, and turned out to be still another wonderful book from this celebrated author, in which many of his old favorite themes (lost civilizations,


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Heu-Heu, or The Monster: Another great Quatermain tale

Heu-Heu, or The Monster by H. Rider Haggard

Heu-Heu, or The Monster is one of the 14 novels that the great H. Rider Haggard wrote that deals with the life of Allan Quatermain, an English hunter in South Africa. This is a stand-alone novel. Unlike the first two novels in the series, King Solomon’s Mines and its sequel, Allan Quatermain; the so-called Zulu trilogy (Marie,


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Mary of Marion Isle: Another wonderful Haggard adventure

Mary of Marion Isle by H. Rider Haggard

The great H. Rider Haggard wrote a total of 58 novels before his death in May 1925, and of that number, four were released posthumously. Mary of Marion Isle was his penultimate creation, one which he wrote in 1924, although, as revealed in D.S. Higgins’ biography of Haggard, the idea for the story first came to him in 1916, while sailing to Australia and watching the albatrosses circling his ship. The novel was ultimately released in April 1929, and, as stated by Higgins,


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The People of the Mist: An exciting lost-race novel… with no Quatermain

The People of the Mist by H. Rider Haggard

Sir Henry Rider Haggard, the so-called “Father of the Lost Race Novel,” didn’t write such stories featuring only Allan Quatermain and Ayesha, She Who Must Be Obeyed. For example, his 17th novel, The People of the Mist (1894), is a smashing, wonderfully exciting, stand-alone lost-race tale featuring all-new characters. But the first third of the novel is hardly a lost-race story at all, but rather one of hard-bitten African adventure.

In it,


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Next SFF Author: Alyson Hagy
Previous SFF Author: Nancy Haddock

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