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Rider Haggard and the Lost Empire

By Tom Pocock

Rider Haggard is remembered as the author of sensational, best-selling adventure novels, which shocked and fascinated not only Victorian and Edwardian Britain, but the world.

Films of his books – notably King Solomon’s Mines and She – are still widely shown on television and have inspired the genre of fantastic adventure, as in the Indiana Jones movies.

But Haggard, a Norfolk squire, often saw his writing as an amusing and lucrative pastime. Haggard saw himself – like his friend Theodore Roosevelt – as a statesman, and as creator of a world of fact rather than fiction, like his other close friend Rudyard Kipling. Haggard’s imagination was held by the reality of empire and its future, rather than the lost civilisations of his literary fantasies.

Haggard, as Tom Pocock shows in this original biography, was perceptive, and often accurate in his prophecies of our own times. Single-handed, he tried to create a British empire that could withstand the tumult to come.

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