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The People of the Mist, an intoxicating mix of adventure, fantasy, and romance, is an underappreciated classic of English literature. Lesser-known among Rider’s works, this novel is perhaps more famous for being the origin of the phrase “Per Ardua ad Astra”—through hardship to the stars—than it is as a story that endures over a century after its publication.
Shaken by the loss of his fortune, abandoned by the woman he was to marry, Leonard Outram risks all he has left to search across Africa for all he could hope to gain. On the way, he befriends a young Zulu named Otter, who guides and assists him in a hostile land. Together, the two rescue a young Portuguese woman named Juanna Rodd and her nursemaid, Soa, from slavery. In the face of danger—and Soa’s mistrust—Outram finds love all over again. When the group finally discovers the fabled People of the Mist, it quickly becomes clear that in order to gain what they came in search for—the wealth of a powerful kingdom—they will first have to survive in a land torn apart by conflict between royalty and a reptilian god. From beginning to end, Haggard’s story of escape and survival is sure to keep readers immersed in its world and guaranteed to leave them wanting more.
To read H. Rider Haggard’s The People of the Mist is to enter a universe that could only be imagined by one of the greatest adventure writers of all time—at the height of his literary powers, no less. Published in book form in 1894 after being serialized in the weekly magazine Tit-Bits, Haggard’s novel is an epic of high fantasy that sheds light on how the intricacies of empire circulated in the popular imagination of British subjects during the reign of Queen Victoria. For the modern reader, it is both a finely-written tale of action and discovery, and a document of a world that is far from lost. Stories such as Haggard’s serve as reminders that we are never as far as we think from the sins of the past, that these “mysterious” and “exotic” lands of myth and adventure not only existed long before European conquest, but survive to this day in its shadow.
With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this new edition of H. Rider Haggard’s The People of the Mist is a classic of English literature reimagined for modern readers.