I’ve taken to re-reading old loved titles, boys’ own yarns such as H. Rider Haggard’s Quartermaine novels and others, such as Stuart Cloete’s Rags of Glory. Some I am rediscovering my affection for; others not so much.
Here is my review of:
The H. Rider Haggard Omnibus: 50 Novels and Short Stories (Halcyon Classics) (Kindle Edition)
Despite the times (and this is Victorian England with all its pomp and certainties we are talking of) Haggard had a remarkably open mind re the ‘savages’ which people his fantastic but headily aromatic Africa. Characters such as Umslopagaas and Mopo are fine figures: laudable adventure genre characters, raw and powerfully iconic, of types later writers would borrow.
The stories usually rip along, with the odd lag for some reflection on God, nature and the beauties of place (which sometimes you’ll love and sometimes you’ll skip) but here is the archetype of so much that came later, such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and many another boys’ own adventure. Quartermaine is a charismatic old character and aren’t all of us entranced by the idea of a beautiful woman made soulless by her immortality but forgivably satanic because love reduces her to fallibility. She who must be obeyed… what a clause.
There is an awful lot of the same here (50+ novels and stories) so I doubt anyone will read them all in one fell swoop… and yes there are typos and some annoying organisational glitches in the eBook’s delivery of text, but I just read on. Minor speed bumps. This huge compendium is heartily recommended when cynicism and the old modern world gets too much for you.