Montezuma's Daughter

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First edition
(publ. Longman & Co.)

Montezuma's Daughter, first published in 1893, is a novel written by the Victorian adventure writer H. Rider Haggard.[1] Narrated in the first person by Thomas Wingfield, an Englishman whose adventures include having his mother murdered, a brush with the Spanish Inquisition, shipwreck, and slavery. Eventually, Thomas unwillingly joins a Spanish expedition to New Spain, and the novel tells the fictionalized story of the first interactions between the natives and European explorers. This includes a number of misunderstandings, prejudice on the part of the Spaniards, and ultimately open war.

During the course of the story, Thomas meets and marries the daughter of the native king (from whom the novel takes its title) and settles into life in Mexico. The war destroys his native family, and eventually Thomas gets revenge on the antagonist and returns to England.

While in Mexico in 1891 researching for the book Haggard received news that his only son had died, which dealt him a lasting blow and badly affected his health.[2] Haggard himself recognised that Montezuma's Daughter was the last of his best work "for the rest was repetition so far as fiction was concerned".[3] Like many Victorian adventure novels, this one sometimes treats the natives as naïve and barbaric, a flaw Haggard explicitly points out in his main character.



  1. ^ "Review: Montezuma's Daughter by H. Rider Haggard". The Saturday Review. 76: 605. 25 November 1893. 
  2. ^ Elwin (1939), p. 254
  3. ^ Elwin (1939), p. 261


  • Elwin, Malcolm (1939), Old Gods Falling, The Macmillan Company   – via Highbeam (subscription required)

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