Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Henry Rider Haggard’s Cleopatra

and_image_1366916320And talking about historical novels, Egypt and all this sort of stuff…
Henry Rider Haggard, author of King Solomon’s Mines and She, two books that are highly regarded here on Karavansara, also wrote a book called Cleopatra, published in 1889.

Now, it is sometimes an overlooked fact that Rider Haggard wrote a huge number of books (56 novels, 3 collections of stories and 10 non-fiction books), and while he is still best remembered for his Quatermain-Ayesha novels, but his catalog includes al sort of historical and exotic adventure.
And most if not all of it is available for free online.

But about Cleopatra, now… Continue reading

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Karavansara Free Library: Georg Ebers

4f33d756b86612f6bf4e199cca2a532b--literatureYou have to admit the idea had potential: popularize the subjects of Egyptology and Ancient History by writing historical romances.
And so Egyptologist Georg Moritz Ebers, a German that had pursued a legal career before he moved on to Egyptology, becoming teacher of Egyptian language in 1868 in Jena, decided to pursue a parallel career as a novelist.

The guy was a legit Egyptologist, and today is mostly known for the Ebers Papyrus, a medical text from 1550 BC, in the form of a scroll containing 700 magical spells and practical remedies.
Ebers had not actually “discovered” the papyrus – he had just purchased it from Edwin Smith, an American from Orlando, Florida, that lived in Egypt and acquired various documents from sources unknown.
This is not actually strange – a lot of Egyptian antiques were not discovered, but bought by Europeans and Americans from various purveyors of ancient goods. Continue reading


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Karavansara Free Library: Edith Nesbit’s Ghosts and other

staged-ghost-photoI’ve been looking up Victorian and Edwardian ghost stories, for a small collateral project I’m working on.
Now the bad side of this is, alot of my books are still boxed away. The bright side on the other hand is, you can find most Victorian and Edwardian fiction online on the Project Gutenberg pages, or in the Internet Archive.

So I started checking, and of course I ended up with Edith Nesbit.
I admit I have a sort of literary crush for Edit Nesbit.
Deservedly famous as an author of children’s books – including the classic The Railway Children from 1906 – Nesbit was also responsible for adult fiction, often of the ghostly and horrific kind.
And if her children’s books are based on her expanded family and show a good understanding of a child’s imagination, her horrors show a good grasp of human psychology and the dynamics of fear. Continue reading


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Travelers’ tales, gossip and word of mouth

220px-Herodotos_Met_91.8This guy here on the right is Herodotus.
Or an acceptable likeness thereof – a Roman copy of a Grecian bust.
The Romans loved Herodotus – and according to Cicero he was the Father of history.
To me, he’s a fun read, and also the first stop for me when I decide to write a new Aculeo & Amunet story.

The Histories of Herodotus provide a wonderful collection of facts, hearsay and speculation about the Ancient World…

This is the display of the inquiry of Herodotus of Halicarnassus, so that things done by man not be forgotten in time, and that great and marvelous deeds, some displayed by the Hellenes, some by the barbarians, not lose their glory, including among others what was the cause of their waging war on each other.

Continue reading


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Karavansara Free Library: 5 by Sir Aurel Stein

Aurel Stein was a man who obsessed about Alexander’s expedition in India, and as a consequence became the trailblazer in the rediscovery of the Silk Road at the turn of the 19th and 20th century.
Explorer, archaeologist, ethnographer, geographer, linguist, map-maker, Stein was born in Budapest in 1862 but later moved to England and became a citizen in 1904.
He was Sven Hedin‘s major competitor in the exploration of Central Asia and the Silk Route, and was probably also a spy in those areas in which British and Russians played the Great Game.
He discovered an unprecedented wealth of documents in Dunhuang (including the world’s oldest printed text), and also the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas.
He died in 1942, at the age of 80, and is buried in Kabul, Afghanistan.

His production of works was enormous – maps, photos, articles and books, the latter often aimed at the general public.

What follows is a very small selection found in the Internet Archive.

1904 – Sand-buried Ruins of Khotan

1912 – Ruins Of Desert Cathay

1929 – On Alexander Track To The Indus

1933 On Ancient Central Asian Tracks

1949 – Old Routes Of Western Iran


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I’m writing a planetary romance (so there!)

brackettI think I mentioned in the past how much I like Leigh Brackett’s stories.
I loved the Skaith books, and I actually read Bracket’s The Sword of Rhiannon well before I discovered Edgar Rice Burrough’s Marian novels.
You can find a few of Brackett’s stories for free download out there, and I’ll provide links at the end of this post, but the reason I’m writing this is because I’m putting together a 5000-words story I plan to submit to a magazine next month. It’s going to be a planetary romance sort of thing, and it will be set on Mars, and so last night I went to the shelf and took down Sea Kings of Mars1 for a quick recap.
To soak-up Bracket’s language, if you will, to see if I can learn her secrets (wishful thinking). Continue reading


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Karavansara Free Library: 2+1 by Richard Halliburton

Something for the weekend.

Adventurer, world-traveler, daredevil, there was a time when Richard Halliburton was a household name, and families would sit around their radio to hear his tales of far-off lands and wild adventures.

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His books were popular too, and are now almost completely forgotten.
Which is a pity, because Richard Halliburton was good at telling a story.
In 1939, Halliburton – the man that had crossed the Alps riding an elephant – disappeared at sea while trying to cross the Pacific ocean in a Chinese junk.

Now, the Karavansara Free Library, as usual with the help of the Internet Archive, is here to offer a small selection of Halliburton’s intelligent, highly entertaining books.
A look into that strange world that was, not even one hundred years ago, in which the world was larger, and there was a lot to be seen (and told) for the first time.

1925 – The Royal Road To Romance

1927 – The Glorious Advanture

1940 – Richard Halliburton His Story Of His Life’s Adventure As Told In Letters To His Mother And Father 

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