Rider Haggard wrote this novel in a few days shortly after his success with "King Solomon's Mines," and in it he again uses his African experiences and his familiarity with old legends. But there is a greater and more frightening depth in this book. In the story the three men from Cambridge endure shipwreck, fever, and cannibals as they search for "She," the object and end of their adventure, bequeathed to them two thousand years previously. "She" is the incarnation of one of the most powerful and most ambiguous figures in Western consciousness: a woman who is at the same time a seductress and a figure of terror. "My empire is an empire of the imagination." Those words are spoken by Ayesha, the central figure of this book and the queen of a central African tribe. Her soubriquet "She-who-must-be-obeyed" alludes to her deathless beauty and her magical powers. But taken together those two utterances bear witness to the powerful hold the author, Henry Rider Haggard, has had on his readers over the years.