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She: A History of Adventure


By H. Rider Haggard

First edition, 2016. Illustrations by Maurice Greiffenhagan and Charles Kerr. Portlaoise: Evertype. ISBN 978-1-78201-133-0 (paperback), price: €12.95, £10.95, $15.95.

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Also available in Cornish.

“Man doeth this and doeth that from the good or evil of his heart; but he knows not to what end his sense doth prompt him; for when he strikes he is blind to where the blow shall fall, nor can he count the airy threads that weave the web of circumstance. Good and evil, love and hate, night and day, sweet and bitter, man and woman, heaven above and the earth beneath--all those things are needful, one to the other, and who knows the end of each?”    
Rider Haggard wrote this novel in a few days shortly after his success with King Solomon's Mines, and in it he again uses his African experiences and his familiarity with old legends. But there is a greater and more frightening depth in this book. In the story the three men from Cambridge endure shipwreck, fever, and cannibals as they search for She, the object and end of their adventure, bequeathed to them two thousand years previously. She is the incarnation of one of the most powerful and most ambiguous figures in Western consciousness: a woman who is at the same time a seductress and a figure of terror.

"My empire is an empire of the imagination." Those words are spoken by Ayesha, the central figure of this book and the queen of a central African tribe. Her soubriquet She-who-must-be-obeyed alludes to her deathless beauty and her magical powers. But taken together those two utterances bear witness to the powerful hold the author, Henry Rider Haggard, has had on his readers over the years.

HTML Michael Everson, Evertype, 73 Woodgrove, Portlaoise, R32 ENP6, Ireland, 2015-06-01

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