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MR. RIDER HAGGARD ON THE
"The Brethren," by H. Rider Bag card, will be welcomed by those who pre- fer a stirring story where men slay and are slain in a perfect lust of fighting, and where love-making is conducted m the high and noble way of chivalry. Mr. Haggard has chosen the last strug- gle of the Crusading Kingdom of Jeru- salem as his historical setting, «nd into
the turbulent politics of these times he, introduces his heroine, who is a niece of -Saladin, and his twin heroes, who are her cousins and lovers. A wonderful dream makes the great Saracen decide to recover his sister's daughter from England, ^where she is living with her father., The first invitation -is refused, and the young lady is finally kidnapped after a night of horrors, in which her father is slain, ber lovers drugged, and her retainers rendered helpless. The brothers go in pursuit, and rely greatly
on a traditional f riendship with the Old !
Man of the Mountains, that grisly j
"Chief of the Assassins, who establish- ; ed a third power in the mountainous re- ] cesses of Lebanon" and made up for thc j smallness of his following by the devo- j tion of his adherents and the terror of his' methods, raising political assassina- tion to a fine art. ^Naturally the hero- ine is captured and loved by this fear- some mountaineer, and rescued with difficulty. Then she has to be rescued
from the Sultan. The brothers see the fall of Jerusalem and take part in some of its most stirring.incidents. Every ad- mirer of heroic deeds must pay tribute to the prowess of Wulf and Godwin, the nobility of Saladin, ttie luckless love bf Masouda, and the general attractiveness qïr Rosamund. Of course, there is no real character development or delicacy of detail, for these are not in Mr. Hag- gard's line- His speciality is the mons- trous and the extreme. But there is a
swirl of absorbing action. The book suf-
fers to some extent because its < scenes and characters, especially the j dramatic oontrast between the Old Man j of the Mountains and Saladin, have been j exploited quite recently by other novelists. But Mr. Haggard still writes with strength. One passage from tho dedication to bis sister must be quoted as showing the author's opinions of the wise mental attitude. After admitting that in real life his heroine might not have been so pure nor his heroes so heroic, he. says, "Still, let us hold other- wise, though we grow grey and know the world for what it is. Let us for a little time think as we thought while wo were young: when faith knew no fears for anything, and death had not knocked upon our doors; when you opened also to my childish eyes that gate of ivory and pearl which leads to tne blessed kingdom of Romance." Our copy of the book ÎB in Cassell's Colonial Library, and has reached us from Mr. J. W. Barnard, Barrack-street.