When the World Shookby H. Rider Haggard
A man's beloved wife dies in childbirth and her last words hint that they will not be parted for long. When he and his two closest friends travel to the South Seas, what they find there is beyond what they could have imagined - the meaning of her last words. See more details below
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A man's beloved wife dies in childbirth and her last words hint that they will not be parted for long. When he and his two closest friends travel to the South Seas, what they find there is beyond what they could have imagined - the meaning of her last words.
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Think of them! The unmeasured space of blackness threaded by those globes of ghastly incandescence that now hung a while and now shot upwards, downwards, across, apparently without origin or end, like a stream of meteors that had gone mad. Then the travelling mountain, two thousand feet in height, or more, with its enormous saucer-like rim painted round with bands of lurid red and blue, and about its grinding foot the tulip bloom of emitted flame. Then the fierce-faced Oro at his post, his hand upon the rod, waiting, remorseless, to drown half of this great world, with the lovely Yva standing calm-eyed like a saint in hell and watching me above the edge of the shield which such a saint might bear to turn aside the fiery darts of the wicked. And lastly we three men flattened terror-stricken, against the wall.
Nightmare! Imagination! No, these pale before that scene which it was given to our human eyes to witness.
And all the while, bending, bowing towards us away from us making obeisance to the path in front as though in greeting, to the path behind as though in farewell; instinct with a horrible life, with a hideous and gigantic grace, that titanic Terror whirled onwards to the mark of fate.
What People are saying about this
If this is pulp fiction it’s high pulp: a Wagnerian opera of an adventure tale, a B-movie humanist apocalypse and chivalric romance. When the World Shookhas it all English gentlemen of leisure, devastating shipwrecks, volcanic tropical islands inhabited by cannibals, ancient princesses risen from the grave, and if that weren’t enough a friendly, ongoing debate between a godless materialist and a devout Christian. H. Rider Haggard’s rich universe is both profoundly camp and deeply idealistic.—Lydia Millet
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