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Sir Henry Rider Haggard (1856 - 1925), known as H. Rider Haggard, was an English writer of adventure novels set in exotic locations, predominantly Africa and a pioneer of the Lost World literary genre. He was also involved in agricultural reform throughout the British Empire. His stories, situated at the lighter end of Victorian literature, continue to be popular and influential.
"Standing a while ago upon the flower-clad plain above Tiberius, by the Lake of Galilee, the writer gazed at the double peaks of the Hill of Hattin. Here, or so tradition says, Christ preached the Sermon on the Mount--that perfect rule of gentleness and peace. Here, too--and this is certain--after nearly twelve centuries had gone by, Yusuf Salah-ed-din, whom we know as the Sultan Saladin, crushed the Christian power in Palestine in perhaps the most terrible battle which that land of blood has known. Thus the Mount of the Beatitudes became the Mount of Massacre. Whilst musing on these strangely-contrasted scenes enacted in one place there arose in his mind a desire to weave, as best he might, a tale wherein any who are drawn to the romance of that pregnant and mysterious epoch, when men by thousands were glad to lay down their lives for visions and spiritual hopes, could find a picture, however faint and broken, of the long war between Cross and Crescent waged among the Syrian plains and deserts. Of Christian knights and ladies also, and their loves and sufferings in England and the East; of the fearful lord of the Assassins whom the Franks called Old Man of the Mountain, and his fortress city, Masyaf. Of the great-hearted, if at times cruel Saladin and his fierce Saracens; of the rout at Hattin itself, on whose rocky height the Holy Rood was set up as a standard and captured, to be seen no more by Christian eyes; and of the Iast surrender, whereby the Crusaders lost Jerusalem forever. Of that desire this story is the fruit." -- H. Rider Haggard