Saturday, December 21, 2013

Allan and the Holy Flower

An H Rider Haggard offering in the Allan Quatermain line, published in 1915. Allan and the Holy Flower.

Everyone praises Haggard for his racial attitudes with the caveat 'for them olden times.' Sorta damning with faint praise. "The Hottentots were ugly drunkards and the Zulus unenlightened Kaffir savages, but they were loyal and brave fighters and often had a wisdom Europeans should give them more credit for."  Meh.  I just enjoy the books for what they are and shut off the over-sensitive 21st C. sensibilities that society inculcates into all of us.  

It's a free book.  As are most all of Haggard's stuff.   Being old and stuff and in the public domain.

Not much gun content.  A muzzle loading Purdey with percussion caps takes center stage.  There is still an African slave trade in this book, being discouraged by the Royal Navy, but no year is given.  Mid 19th Century.  

The Holy Flower is an exceptionally large orchid in deepest darkest, in the territory of polite cannibals, and Allan leads an expedition to try to retrieve.  Because that's what British clients do.  Months long deadly expeditions far from civilization through territories of known hostiles amoungst disease carrying tsetse flies and malaria mosquitoes.  Did your shaving nick get infected?  Guaranteed to go septic.  Better amputate...  

1 comment:

Windy Wilson said...

"Better amputate..."
Reminded me of "Mountains of the Moon" with Livingston and Burton comparing scars and stories.