Henry Rider Haggard (22 June 1856 - 14 May 1925) was born at Bradenham, Norfolk, to Sir William Meybohm Rider Haggard, a barrister, and Ella Doveton, an author and poet. He was the eighth of ten children. He was initially sent to Garsington Rectory in Oxfordshire to study under the Reverend H.J. Graham but, unlike his older brothers who graduated from various Public Schools, he ended up attending Ipswich Grammar School.
The Virgin of the Sunby H. Rider Haggard
"A tale that deals with the marvellous Incas of Peru; with the legend also that, long before the Spanish Conquerors entered on their mission of robbery and ruin, there in that undiscovered land lived and died a White God risen from the sea."
- CreateSpace Publishing
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- 7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.48(d)
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I was surprised to find how much i enjoyed reading this book. The story moves along and there is action and love interest as well. The story holds up even today and I would recommend this to others who like this type of historical novel.
H. Rider Haggard's "The Virgin of the Sun", like his classic "King Solomon's Mines", is not written in the mold of a modern wam-bam action adventure. First, Haggard's writing style is more classical, which tends to be a bit verbose. Second, he is not particularly focused on exposition. He doesn't spend much typeface detailing location which is in some regards a shame considering the romantic locations he tends to write on - in this case a virginal South America. Third, his stories are deep and exploratory. Haggard doesn't write to get to an ending, but rather his stories have multiple layers that sit underneath the core narrative. In the case of "Virgin", Haggard explores love, friendship, and women, all while Adventuring across the Atlantic and over South America. Historically, Haggard does a nice job blending Inca history and myth into his adventure tale. In "The Virgin of the Sun", he explores the Inca myth surrounding the rise of one of the Americas greatest pre-columbian leaders - Pachacuti. Now, Pachacuti is most well known for mountain retreat - one of the most recognizable icons in the world - Machu Picchu. "Virgin of the Sun" was published in 1922, only a scant 11 years after explorer Hiram Bingham rediscovered the lost city nestled in the Peruvian mountains. Bingham hadn't yet connected Machu Picchu to Pachacuti, but myth had already surrounded the Inca ruler who's credited with expanding Inca rule to cover a huge swath of territory on South America's western coast. Haggard's story unfolds as a "modern day" anitque hound translates 400-year-old letters found in an ancient chest. The letters tell the tale of Hubert - a fisherman working and living in England. Following a few small adventures and misadventures, our hero, Hubert, meets and befriends a strange man from a foreign land. After Hubert's wife of less-than-24-hours commit suicide and Hubert kills her former lover, he and his friend, Kari, are off into the Atlantic Ocean. Kari acts as a phyiscal and emotional guide to Hubert who's immediately declared a White God by the various natives they come across after finding landfall in South America. In addition to the Victorian era-like romance that leads to his wife's death, Hubert also falls in love with a beautiful Indian princess, Quilla - daughter of the moon. While their loves develops rather abruptly, Haggard does a nice job of using a surprisingly touching romance to further Hubert and Kari's adventure. The story is enjoyable, but takes a little effort to get used to Haggard's writing style. The pace of the story picks up considerably about 1/3 through following Hubert and Kari's flight from England across the Atlantic. Consider this a strong historical adventure. Another bonus is that this version of the book is free on B&N e-readers. :-)