Friday, December 31, 2010

Reflections: The People of The Mist

After a series of misfortunes that leaves Leonard Outram and his brother penniless and swindled of their fortune, the brothers launch on an adventure of a life-time in search of gold in Central Africa, with the dream that they will soon return home to claim back their ancestral property. In Africa, Leonard loses his brother to sickness. He befriends some locals whom he hires to serve him through his expeditions. One such faithful man was a curious African dwarf, by the name, Otter. Otter is an extremely brave, strong, loyal and resourceful servant. One day, they chance upon a middle-aged lady weeping at losing her beloved white-mistress, Juanna, to slave-traders. Soa, the mysterious woman, lures Leonard to rescue her mistress,with the pledge that she will help him find an exquisite treasure of rubies and sapphires from the land of the people of the mist. Leonard agrees and sets on a dangerous adventure where he and his team encounter the strange and savage tribe of the People of the Mist, who are one of the most superstitious, blood-thirsty clans in Africa. With a liberal dose of adrenaline-rushing adventure and romance, the story is an addictive page-turner.

If you have read King Solomon’s Mines in middle-school (or any other time), then you must be familiar with the author, H. Rider Haggard. His stories are centered around ancient tribes and civilizations and the early European treasure-seekers who risk their lives for the sake of adventure and treasure. In addition to the twists and turns of the plot and the nail-biting action, the stories focus on exploring the customs and curious traditions of archaic societies. The barbarism and brutality is contrasted with the basic threads of human emotions that connect the civilized and the “savage”. His stories subtly extol the virtues of nobility, although it’s an irony that the “hero” usually invades these old communities to satisfy his greed for wealth, regardless of the havoc he wreaks upon the people.

But the book is entertaining nonetheless. And the immaculate prose makes the story feel like a classy adaption of Indiana Jones :)

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