Haggard's great-grandson pens novel
HE was an author who fuelled the imagination of a generation of young boys with a zest for adventure. Sir Henry Rider Haggard is a name well-known in the literary world not just across Norfolk and Suffolk but throughout the world for his African adventure novels.
HE was an author who fuelled the imagination of a generation of young boys with a zest for adventure.
Sir Henry Rider Haggard is a name well-known in the literary world not just across Norfolk and Suffolk but throughout the world for his African adventure novels.
Author of nearly 70 works of fact and fiction including She, Allan Quatermain, and adventure classic King Solomon's Mines, Norfolk-born Rider Haggard was also remembered locally for his ripping yarns.
Now his great-grandson, Jonathan Cheyne, has followed in his footsteps by penning his first novel, Never A Dull Day in Pompeii. The historical adventure story is set in the ancient city of Pompeii and the nearby town of Herculaneum. It describes their destruction in 79 AD by the eruption of the volcano of Vesuvius and their rediscovery many years later, which prompts a modern day quest to discover a fortune in Roman coins and treasure in an undiscovered villa on the slopes of the volcano.
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Mr Cheyne, from Ditchingham, said he was pleased with his first novel, which interweaves fiction and historical fact, and was self-published.
“I have written several short stories and articles for parish magazines and given plenty of talks to clubs and societies on a wide variety of subjects, including my great-grandfather, but I have always wanted to write a novel,” he said. “Other commitments always made it hard to find the time. I eventually decided that I would have to just bite the bullet and get on with it.”
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Mr Cheyne, who has run the Three Bells Furniture in Ditchingham, Norfolk for 25 years, is the president of The Rider Haggard Society, and Never a Dull Day in Pompeii was started as his entry for the society writing competition.
He said: “It was supposed to be a 6,000-word short story but I enjoyed writing so much, the 6,000-word limit came and went and I hadn't even got going properly.”
His family still farms the land that Rider Haggard owned in South Norfolk, and his great-grandfather's ashes are interred beneath the chancel in St Mary's Church. Mr Cheyne, 54, lives in a part of the family estate and his workshop is an outbuilding of Ditchingham House, where Rider Haggard lived.
Never a Dull Day in Pompeii can be bought from the Three Bells workshops at Ditchingham (�9.80) or from www.authorhouse.co.uk.