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Algernon Blackwood's Shorter Supernatural Fiction (2 vols.)

Terrys Texas Rangers

The Last Crusaders

The Defeat of the U-Boats

Sup Richard Middleton

The Battle of Austerlitz

The Campaigns of Alexander

Sabre and Foil Fighting

The Fourth Leonaur Book of Ghost and Horror Stories

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General Von Zieten

Armoured Cars and Aircraft

The Chinese Regiment

Texas Cavalry and the Laurel Brigade

The First Crusaders

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Roger Lamb and the American War of Independence

Gronow of the Guards

Plumer of Messines

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Adventures in the Ancient World: 4

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Adventures in the Ancient World: 4
Leonaur Original
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Author(s): H. Rider Haggard
Date Published: 2009/12
Page Count: 496
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-1-84677-991-6
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1-84677-992-3

The final volume in this stunning series of adventures in the distant past

Rider Haggard is one of the most famous authors of adventure fiction in the English language. Almost everyone has heard of Allan Quatermain—the hero of King Solomon's Mines—and the beautiful, ruthless, magically immortal Ayesha—She 'who must be obeyed.' All of Haggard’s novels and stories featuring both characters are available in handsome Leonaur editions. Haggard was a prolific writer so it is not surprising that only a few of his titles are widely known—and read—by an audience which would enjoy them all. The essential elements of his most famous creations—the great African continent and ancient civilisations, mysterious and exotic, mythical, imagined or real, are combined in a number of his novels and stories and these too have now been collected by Leonaur into a special four volume set—African Adventures. Readers will therefore be unsurprised to learn that Haggard could not resist writing a number of tales about ancient civilisations, or that in these he naturally gravitated towards the most evocative of them all—the world of the Ancient Egyptians and the other peoples of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. This is a stunning body of fiction which Leonaur has gathered together into a four volume set—each successive volume following a chronological time-line along the sweeping march of history.
Lovers of Rider Haggard's tales of high adventure will find much to satisfy them in the first novel of this, the final volume in this special Leonaur four volume collection of nine of the author's forays into the ancient world. It is now 800 AD and the setting of this great Haggard adventure moves between Jutland in the chilly North to the 'New Rome', the dazzling Byzantine Empire and on to Egypt itself. The second novel here echoes the great Northern sagas in style and tells of the heroic Viking 'Eric Brighteyes' in around 999 AD. Available in soft cover and hard cover with dust jacket.

So we stayed till the lightning, flashing for the last time, showed us a man and a woman standing quite close to us, although we had not heard them because of the wind. They were Steinar and Iduna, talking together eagerly, with their faces very near to each other. At the same moment they saw us. Steinar said nothing, for he seemed confused, but Iduna ran to us and said:<br>
“Thanks be to the gods who send you, Olaf. The great storm caught us at Odin’s temple, where we were forced to shelter. Then, fearing that you would grow frightened, we started, and lost our way.”<br>
“Is it so?” I answered. “Surely Steinar would have known this road even in the dark. But what matter, since I have found you?”<br>
“Aye, he knew as soon as we saw this grave mound. But Steinar was telling me that some ghost haunts it, and I begged him to stay awhile, since there is nothing I desire so much as to see a ghost, who believe little in such things. So he stayed, though he says he fears the dead more than the living. Freydisa, they tell me that you are very wise. Cannot you show me this ghost?”<br>
“The spirit does not ask my leave to appear, lady,” answered Freydisa in her quiet voice. “Still, at times it does appear, for I have seen it twice. So let us bide here a little on the chance.”<br>
Then she went forward a few steps and began to mutter to herself.<br>
Some minutes later the clouds broke and the great moon was seen riding low down in a clear sky, illumining the grave mound and all the plain, save where we stood in the shadow of the mount.<br>
“Do you see aught?” asked Freydisa presently. “If not, let us be gone, for when the Wanderer comes at all it is at the rising of the moon.”<br>
Steinar and Iduna answered, “No,” but I, who did see something, said:<br>
“Look yonder among the shadows. Mayhap it is a wolf stirring. Nay, it is a man. Look, Iduna.”<br>
“I look and find nothing,” she answered.<br>
“Look again,” I said. “He reaches the top of the mount and stands there staring towards the south. Oh! now he turns, and the moonlight shines upon his face.”<br>
“You dream, Olaf,” said Steinar. “If you do not dream, tell us of the likeness of this spirit.”<br>
“Its likeness,” I answered, “is that of a tall and noble man, worn as though with years and sorrows. He wears strange rich armour that is dinted and soiled; on his head is a cap of mail with two long ear-pieces, beneath which appears his brown hair lined with grey. He holds a red-coloured sword which is handled with a cross of gold. He points the sword at you, Steinar. It is as though he were angry with you, or warned you.”<br>
Now, when Steinar heard these words he shook and groaned, as I remembered afterwards. But of this I took no note at the time, for just then Iduna cried out:<br>
“Say, Olaf, does the man wear a necklace? I see a necklace hanging in the air above the mount, but naught else.”<br>
“Yes, Iduna, he wears a necklace above his mail. How does it appear to you?”<br>
“Oh, beautiful, beautiful!” she answered. “A chain of pale gold, and hanging from it golden shells inlaid with blue, and between them green jewels that hold the moon.”<br>
“That is what I see also,” I said, as indeed I did. “There! All is gone.”<br>
Freydisa returned and there was a strange smile on her dark face, for she had heard all our talk.<br>
“Who sleeps in that mound, Freydisa?” asked Iduna.<br>
“How can I tell, Lady, seeing that he was laid there a thousand years ago, or mayhap more? Yet a story, true or false, remains of him that I have heard. It is that he was a king of these parts, who followed a dream to the south. The dream was of a necklace, and of one who wore it. For many years he wandered, and at length returned again to this place, which had been his home, wearing the necklace. But when he saw its shore from the sea he fell down and his spirit left him. What happened to him in his wanderings none know, for the tale is lost. Only it is said that his people buried him in yonder mound still wearing his armour and the necklace he had won. There, as Olaf has seen, or thinks that he has seen but now, he stands at moonrise ere trouble comes to any of his race, and stares towards the south—always towards the south.”<br>
“Is the necklace yet in the mound?” asked Iduna eagerly.<br>
“Without doubt, Lady. Who would dare to touch the holy thing and bring on him the curse of the Wanderer and his gods, and with it his own death? No man that ever sailed the seas, I think.”<br>
“Not so, Freydisa, for I am sure I know one who would dare it for my sake. Olaf, if you love me, bring me that necklace as a marriage gift. I tell you that, having once seen it, I want it more than anything in all the world.”<br>
“Did you hear what Freydisa said?” I asked. “That he who wrought this sacrilege would bring upon himself evil and death?”<br>
“Yes, I heard; but it is folly, for who need fear dead bones? As for the shape you saw, why, it is strengthless for good or ill, a shadow drawn from what has been by the magic moon, or perchance by Freydisa’s witchery. Olaf, Olaf, get me that necklace or I will never kiss you more.”<br>
“That means you will not marry me, Iduna?”<br>
“That means I will only marry the man who gives me that necklace. If you fear the deed, perhaps there are some others by whom it might be tried.”<br>
Now when I heard these words a sudden rage seized me. Was I to be taunted thus by the fair woman whom I loved?<br>
“Fear is an ill word to use to me,” I said sternly. “Know, Iduna, that if it is put to me thus I fear nothing in life or death. You shall have the necklace if it can be found in yonder earth, chance what may to the searcher. Nay, no more words. Steinar will lead you home; I must talk of this matter with Freydisa.”
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