Nada the Lily by Henry Rider Haggard (1892)

13 August 2012 Nada the Lily is Rider Haggard’s sixth novel. Haggard distinguished between his “Romances” – which included the She and Allan Quatermain series, both featuring a large element of fantasy and the supernatural – and his “Novels”, which are more naturalistic, where the emphasis is more on human relationships than the fantastic. Blacks The most […]

She: A History of Adventure by Henry Rider Haggard (1887)

5 August 2012 She is generally agreed to be one if the classics of imaginative literature and, with over 83 million copies sold in 44 different languages, one of the best-selling books of all time. Extraordinarily popular upon its release, She has never been out of print. (Wikipedia have an interesting list of bestselling books […]

Allan’s Wife and Other Tales by Henry Rider Haggard (1889)

29 July 2012 Allan’s Wife and Other Tales is a collection of stories by Henry Rider Haggard about his African hunter hero, Allan Quatermain. The title story is by far the longest, describing Allan’s childhood, upbringing in Africa, and meeting with his wife, and is accompanied by three genuinely short stories, Hunter Quartermain’s Story, A Tale of […]

Maiwa’s revenge, or The War of The Little Hand by Henry Rider Haggard (1888)

28 July 2012 Maiwa’s Revenge is the third Allan Quatermain novel (in order of writing), and an innovation in the series in that is a) short b) set within a frame narrative – Quatermain is on a shoot at his Yorkshire home with friends and, after bagging three woodcock in flight is persuaded to tell the […]

Allan Quatermain by Henry Rider Haggard (1887)

24 July 2012 Clutching the book, perched on the edge of my seat, I read on, enthralled by the heroic description of the brave Zulu Umslopogaas defending the entrance to the Palace of the Sun as the priests of the lost civilisation of Zu-Vendi try to storm it in order to kill the sacriligeous Queen […]

King Solomon’s Mines by Henry Rider Haggard (1885)

20 July 2012 Henry Rider Haggard, age 29, was on a train journey with his brother. He was back in England after a five years’ sojourn in South Africa and the two were discussing the merits of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, still wildly popular after its publication in 1883. Henry says, “Oh there’s nothing […]

Henry Rider Haggard (1856-1925)

17 July 2012 Henry Rider Haggard (1856-1925) virtually invented the late-Victorian ripping yarn. His most famous books are King Solomon’s Mines (KSM) and She but he wrote over 70 novels, 14 or so featuring the action hero, Allan Quatermain. Haggard was one of 10 children born to a Jewish barrister living in Norfolk. Considered a duffer […]

Season of Blood: A Rwandan Journey by Fergal Keane (1995)

‘It should be an interesting few weeks, old boy.’ (The words of David, Fergal Keane’s tall, elegant, 60-year-old BBC producer, as they arrive at the border of Rwanda, page 42) Fergal Keane, reporter and moral superstar Keane is an award-winning BBC foreign correspondent and writer. This is a short 190-page book which recounts the journey […]

We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch (1998)

‘Hutus must stop having mercy on the Tutsis.’ Eighth of the Hutu Ten Commandments published by Hutu Power propagandist Hassan Ngeze in 1990 (page 88) Disappointment Simon’s law of book-buying states that the more you spend on a book, the more likely you are to be disappointed. Nothing has brought me as much pleasure as […]

In The Footsteps of Mr Kurz by Michela Wrong (2000)

Comparing Michela Wrong and David van Reybrouck David van Reybrouck’s account of Congo’s modern history is basically an orthodox chronological account and political analysis interspersed with interviews with the many veterans and eye witnesses he has tracked down and spoken with at length. Wrong’s account feels completely different, less chronological or, indeed, logical, more thematic. […]