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Most helpful customer reviews 1 of 1 people found the following review helpful. I love Haggard, but this book was certainly not my favorite! By weebiscuit I have only read eight of Haggard's books and really enjoyed them. No foul language, no sex scenes and just good, plain fun and adventure, with story lines that surprised and engrossed me. The Ghost Kings was another amazing story... but only to a point.It revolves around a young girl named Rachel, who is about 15 when the story starts. Her father is convinced he is going to convert the native Africans and feels it's his god-given mission in life to do so. His long-suffering wife follows him into the hinter-lands, burying a few children along the way. Only Rachel survives, and her mother, who has a bit of the "sight" tells her daughter that she will live a long and happy life.Due to a set of strange circumstances, the Zulus believe Rachel to be their "spirit queen." Through devious means they get her to come to their village, but then the king refuses to allow her to leave. He believes that if he can get her parents to come to the village, she will be content to stay there. But plans go awry, thanks to a certain villain, who captures Rachel and the young man who is the love of her life. The villain wants to marry Rachel, and knows he has to get rid of her lover, so he uses a powerful drug to make it appear the young man is dead. But it's simply a drug that makes him appear dead. When he finally awakens from his stupor, he can't remember that he even loved Rachel (but that memory will return), and he's in a bit of a confused state.So Rachel believes her enamorata is dead, and she falls into a bit of a mad depression. Enter the Ghost Kings.... she is taken to a village far, far away from the Zulus, to a place where the trees reach the sky and are hundreds and hundreds of years old, and within these trees live the Tree People, led by a few extremely small, and extremely pale, men. I assume they are called ghost kings because their pallor makes them look like ghosts. It was at this point that the book simply went to hell in a hand-basket for me.I checked my tablet, and it seemed that it was about 75% through the story that Rachel ended up in the land of the ghost kings. So the last 25% of the book was ridiculously inane and extremely annoying. These little kings were actually quite evil and nasty, and the story took on a jumbled quality that almost seemed as if it weren't even the same author who was writing it. And while the story degenerated into nonsense, the vocabulary used by these tree people was utterly ridiculous. Think of the way Quakers talk. That is exactly the way the dialogue was written.For example, Thou has given us reason for pause. Wilst thou cometh to the Mother Tree and then see for thyself? Or will thou goest to another place? That sort of thing, on and on.This is supposed to be some weird tribe of tree-dwelling, pale pygmy native Africans, yet they are talking like Quakers? The dialogue was so completely annoying that I began skipping paragraphs. And it wasn't just the dialogue. The story seemed to nose-dive during the last 25% of it. It became convoluted and confusing, and was really quite a disappointment.As I stated earlier, I have read many of Haggard's books and loved all of them. They are such a wonderful antithesis to so many of today's popular books which all seem to follow the same formulaic pattern: sadistic serial killer tracks women, captures, tortures, rapes and murders them, and then the detective good guy comes along to finally capture him. I had read once that some of Haggard's books, and especially one of his protagonists, Allan Quatermain, was the model for the Indiana Jones movies. I can certainly see why!Ghost Kings was a great story with a terrible ending. 6 of 6 people found the following review helpful. Wonderful Adventure Story By Tom Johnson I won't try to add much to the previous review, which is a wonderful review. I just want to say that Tolkien read Haggard's stories and he obviously read this one too. Read it and you will see where he got the idea for Galadriel's mirror and probably a concept for Galadriel herself. You will find the Ghost Kings looking into bowls filled with dew and seeing things. Haggard's character even mentions that what they see "...no one can tell, you may see things that are, things that were, or things yet to be..." May not be an exact quote from the story but it is close enough and obviously stayed in Tolkien's mind until he wrote it into the Fellowship of the Ring. I just re-read the story after 3 years and thoroughly enjoyed it again. 0 of 0 people found the following review helpful. A Typical H. Rider Haggard story By Michael Hawks While it is an enjoyable read, where does he come up with these ideas, it doesn't have as much action as many of his other books. See all 13 customer reviews...
About the Author Stephen Coan is an assistant editor of The Natal Witness.
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