Sunday, September 22, 2019

Fortnightly Book, September 22

While Bram Stoker is most famous for Dracula, he wrote a number of other works in the horror genre, of which the next fortnightly book, The Jewel of Seven Stars, is one. An archeologist has become obsessed with the idea of returning an Egyptian mummy, Queen Tera, to life, and things become very dangerous when it turns out that the mummy-queen is herself manipulating events. The book did not have a very friendly critical reception in its own day, but Stoker was himself an enthusiastic amateur Egyptologist, and the book is usually thought to be one of the better mummy-monster novels at evoking a truly Egyptian atmosphere.

There are two different versions of the book. The original, published in 1903, has a dark ending; the revised version, published in 1912, takes out a chapter ("Powers Old & New") and modifies the ending to be somewhat happier. It's unclear why Stoker made the changes. The version I have is very definitely the 1912 version, but the original is available online, so I will perhaps have to read it as well.

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