Travelling though deep forests and marshes, the heroes of the book endured great hardship, but at last they were entertained by "She-who-must-be-obeyed", the mighty Queen of a savage people. While woman, She ruled savages, was seldom seen by them, but was reported to have power over all things living and dead. The Queen was a magician, had knowledge of all things, and life and loveliness that does not die. She had no regular army, but to disobey her was to die. This mysterious woman had a powerful intellect, which she always enriched by studying languages and different sciences. She was two thousand years old and, of course, knew history and studied all religions of the world. Ayesha (this was her name) even had her own philosophy. She was a great chemist, indeed chemistry appears to have been her amusement and occupation. Ayesha had one of the caves fitted up as a laboratory.
She was a woman of peculiar beauty. "Never may the man to whom her beauty is once unveiled put it from his mind." Ayesha looked like a young woman of certainly not more than thirty years in perfect health. Her white and rounded arms, ankles, snowy argent breast, perfect and imperial shape, gracious forms were more perfect than ever sculptor dreamed of. "Her grace was more than human." This woman had the great changing eyes of deepest, softest black, marble face, broad and noble brow, lovely smile and delicate, straight features. One who ever saw her surpassingly beautiful and pure face, was amazed and blinded by its beauty.
At the end of the story Ayesha decided that Leo Vincey was the man she has waited for. She thought that Leo really was a reincarnation of her beloved Kallikrates, because their likeness and resemblance amazed her. This woman wanted to make Leo Vincey immortal in order he could marry her. That is why he had to step into the Eternal Fire of Life… But Leo doubted how could he know that it wouldn't utterly destroy him. So, Ayesha asked him: "Oh, my Kallikrates, if you see me stand in the flame and come out unharmed, will you enter then." Leo agreed and said: "Yes!!!" And Ayesha stepped into the Fire and never came back.
So, this was the end of the first story about this mysterious woman. But When I read the second book, I found out that after a while She restored to life again.
This book was not written for any specific group or class. The author even does not insist on his point of view. He thinks that a reader must judge the history (the story) himself, that is why the story is presented like memories or the main hero - Horace Holly. But I think that the intended audience should be young broad-minded people, who has bright imagination and will be able to develop Haggard's idea or, maybe on the contrary, - to dispute his opinion. A story that began more than two thousand years ago may stretch a long way into the dim and of the story is not reached yet. Haggard wrote an endless story and in it, he raised a question of Life and Death that has always occupied people minds. This is the question about rebirth of both, mind and body after death.
The purpose of this book is to make a man reflect on the purport of life and make him try to solve the most important problem for humanity - the question about life prolongation.
The message of the book is to make a man believe that his life after death does not come to an end, but after a while the rebirth of soul and body will be and "to the world his is born again and again."
Rider Haggard wrote this book with an intention to share with a reader his thoughts and ideas about Past, Present and Future of mankind. He wanted to bring up for discussion the subject of Immortality and Eternal Life.
Haggard in his novel uses specific literary method. He depicts all the events very brightly and thus a reader finds himself in the deepest jungle of civilization among the savages, in Africa. Excited about impending adventure, with his heart filled with mingled dread and curiosity the reader shares the adventures with the heroes. The main heroes of the story often turn over their minds the events that they experienced and share their thoughts with the reader.
The author often uses inversion as a quite unusual rhetorical device in order to lend the speech of the main heroes still greater importance.
Savages never called their Queen by name. Speaking about her they used to say: "She-who-must-be-obeyed!" This and many other expressions make Ayesha more powerful and majestic. Haggard uses many metaphors, epithets and comparisons. For example, in order to describe the difference between young handsome Leo and ugly appearance of Mr. Holly more vividly, the writer compares the heroes with Beauty and the Beast.
Rider Haggard uses many words from Uncial Greek, Old English and Latin languages. He even gives his heroes ancient Greek names. For example, Kallikrates (means the Beautiful in Strength) and his wife Amenartas. All these literary devices give the story a shade of antiquity and ancient times.
I found the book instructive and very interesting. Reading the novel I really experienced a fascinating adventure to Africa. I like the story because the author offers interesting insight into human nature. His idea differs from the Bible interpretation of this question. I consider Haggard's thought very interesting because he thinks that not only soul exists after death, but body also revives.
The main hero of the story Ayesha appeals to me more than other ones. Her intellect and wisdom amaze me. I respect this woman and admire her inquiring nature, intellectual curiosity and diligence. Living two thousand years not everyone could resist the temptations of life, but She dedicated these years to studying different sciences and as a result of her endurance and hard work Ayesha reveled the Secret of Nature and got the enormous power over all things. I'm delighted with her devotion to the man she loved and waited for, all these years. Ayesha's power, youth and beauty - are not magic, but her tireless work. The Queen even says: "There is no such thing as magic", thought there is such thing as knowledge of Secrets of Nature.
As to my opinion this book will be interesting for everyone, because the questions of Life and Death, prolongation of Life and rebirth of body and soul are eternal questions for mankind. All people are interested in it. Little children ask their parents about Future, about life, as well as old people often turn over these questions in their minds. I recommend to read this book to everybody. I can't say that after reading it you will be sure that Eternal life exists, but still the story leaves a hope…