Allan Quatermain (novel)
|Author||H. Rider Haggard|
|Preceded by||King Solomon's Mines|
At the beginning of the book, Allan Quatermain's only son has died and he longs to get back into the wilderness. He persuades Sir Henry Curtis, Captain John Good, and the Zulu chief Umslopogaas to accompany him, and they set out from the coast of east Africa into the territory of the Maasai. While staying with a Scottish missionary, Mr. Mackenzie, they run into a group of Maasai who kidnap Mr. Mackenzie's daughter. The Maasai demand the life of Allan Quatermain as ransom, but he instead leads an attack on the Maasai, catching them by surprise and slaughtering them. The group then travel by canoe along an underground river to a lake (which turns out to be the sacred lake of Zu-Vendis) in the kingdom of Zu-Vendis beyond a range of mountains. The Zu-Vendi are a warlike race of white-skinned people isolated from other African races; their capital is called Milosis. At the time of the British party's arrival, they are ruled jointly by two sisters, Nyleptha and Sorais. The priests of the Zu-Vendi religion are hostile to the explorers as they had killed hippopotamuses – animals sacred to the Zu-Vendis – on their arrival, but the queens protect them.
Both sisters fall passionately in love with Curtis, but Curtis loves only Nyleptha. Together with Nyleptha's rejection of the nobleman Nasta, the lord of a highland domain, a civil war breaks out. Sorais' and Nasta's forces fight against those of Nyleptha, Curtis and Quatermain. After a battle in which Queen Nyleptha's forces emerge victorious despite being outnumbered, it turns out that Queen Nyleptha is threatened by the treachery of the priests, who plan to murder her in her palace before her army's return. Umslopogaas and one loyal warrior manage to save her by defending the main doorway of the palace, while killing the attackers including Nasta and the chief priest Agon, although both are mortally wounded. Defeated and jealous, Sorais takes her own life. Nyleptha and Curtis become queen and king, while Quatermain dies from a wound suffered in the battle.
- R.D. Mullen, The Books of H. Rider Haggard: A Chronological Survey Science Fiction Studies, # 16 = Volume 5, Part 3 = November 1978. Retrieved 13 December 2013
- H Rider Haggard, The Days of My Life Chapter 10. Retrieved 21 December 2013
- The illustrations are by C. H. M. Kerr (engraved by J. Cooper); six of these feature Umslopogaas and his battle-axe appears on the spine of the 1st ed.)
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