|Born in Norfolk, England in 1856, Henry Rider Haggard traveled extensively in South Africa as a government employee until the age of 25. Settling in England in 1881, he began writing. His first book, KING SOLOMON'S MINES, appeared in 1885 and was a huge success. It charts the adventures of Allan Quatermain as he tries to locate a man who has gone missing in the heart of Africa. With this first book in a series, Haggard virtually defined the notion of the "lost world" science fiction/fantasy genre--which, simply put, is the discovery by "modern man" of a long-hidden enclave of some form of "primitive" life: humans, dinosaurs, or almost anything else. Haggard followed KING SOLOMON'S MINES with 13 other books about Quatermain, and the series was eventually joined--in 1921's SHE & ALLAN--with Haggard's other important series--the Ayesha books. That series started with SHE in 1886, and followed the life of an immortal goddess who ruled from a hidden city. Haggard was knighted in 1912 and continued to write up until his death in 1925. The final two Quatermain adventures appeared posthumously. Many contemporary fantasy writer regularly mention Haggard as an important influence on their work, citing in particular his 1890 book, ERIC BRIGHTEYES, which is often considered the best early example of a fantasy novel based on Nordic legend.