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Ayesha: Return of She Paperback – June 16, 2013
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From the Back Cover
Ayesha's strange last words before her apparent death in She (Dover 0-486-20643-2), Haggard's famous story of adventure, suspense, and the supernatural, come true. Guided by a vision, Leo Vincey, with his companion Holly, searches and finally finds his beloved. Ayesha: The Return of "She" concludes this incredible and thrilling drama of mystery, reincarnation, and immortal love.
The English novelist Sir Henry Rider Haggard (1856-1925) is one of the few popular writers who created their own mythological worlds. Ayesha, one of the great mythical creations of the late 19th century, continues to fascinate generations of readers. As Haggard writes, "Who and what was Ayesha, nay—what is Ayesha? An incarnate essence, a materialized spirit of Nature, the unforeseeing, the lovely, the cruel, and the immortal; ensouled alone, redeemable only by Humanity and its piteous sacrifice?" This book, which can be read by itself, continues to explore this mystery in a tale filled with exciting trials, ordeals, and exotic adventures in Asia.
Haggard creates unique and memorable characters—Leo Vincey and Ludwig Horace Holly, both determined to find the object of their quest or die; the Khania Atene of Kaloon, obsessed with love for Leo, and perhaps a reincarnation of the ancient Egyptian princess, Amenartas; the Khan, her mad and insanely jealous husband, with his death-hounds; Simbri, an evil shaman, wizard, and magician; the Hesea of the House of Fire, the high priestess of a cult of Isia worshippers transplanted to Asia; and more. This edition also includes 47 bold and imaginative illustrations by the noted English illustrator and painter, Maurice Greiffenhagen (1862-1931).
Haggard's novels have been called parables, asking "What are science, learning, and consciousness of knowledge and power, in the face of Omnipotence?" They have been called romance. And they have been called excitingly alive and imaginative by almost everyone from Robert Louis Stevenson to George Orwell.
About the Author
Henry Rider Haggard (1856 1925) was an English writer of adventure novels set in exotic locations, predominantly Africa, and a founder of the Lost World literary genre. He was also involved in agricultural reform around the British Empire. His stories, situated at the lighter end of Victorian literature, continue to be popular and influential.
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Ayesha is not as well-plotted, nor as exciting, as She. At times, it seemed to lag, and I even found my attention roaming a bit in the middle. The divinity and mortality of Ayesha , to my disappointment, was not resolved. What I would really have liked was more of the 16 years of travel, and less of the daily life in the College of Hess.
The battle was excellent though, and the supernatural elements were just creepy enough to satisfy. I also enjoyed the uncertainty of just where this story was going, of what Ayesha would do, and the tension this created.
I like Haggard's novels, and while this wasn't his best, it was still a good yarn. I highly recommend She, and only then should Ayesha be read--with the understanding that it's just not as good.
This book was written in the era of the archetype, the cardboard characters. Leo is the classic handsome, swarthy adventurer who beats up the villains and gets the girl. There was almost no attempt in the first book to establish any characterization for Leo which made it all the more shocking when he was entirely seduced by Ayesha the moment he saw he face. He declared his devotion to Ayesha even as he literally stood next to the body of the woman he had intended to marry; a woman Ayesha murdered in front of his eyes. This is not supposed to happen to the manly archetype. Their search for the clearly dead Ayesha fells both tragic and pathetic.
. This novel is a sequel to the story of "She", set in Tibet, rather than Africa. It is both an easily readable, exciting adventure novel, from the era of British colonialism, and an interesting and thought-provoking study of spiritualism and reincaration. These ideas are also explored in "She and Allan", which should be read to compliment these novels