A runaway bestseller on its publication in 1887, H. Rider Haggard
's "She is a Victorian thrill ride of a novel, featuring a lost African kingdom ruled by a mysterious, implacable queen; ferocious wildlife and yawning abysses; and an eerie love story that spans two thousand years. "She has bewitched readers from Freud and Jung to C. S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien; in her Introduction to this Modern Library Paperback Classic—which includes period illustrations by Maurice Greiffenhagen and Charles H. M. Kerr—Margaret Atwood asserts that the awe-inspiring Ayesha, “She-who-must-be-obeyed,” is “a permanent feature of the human imagination.”
Stephen Coan is an assistant editor of The Natal Witness.