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Ayesha, the Return of She is a gothic-fantasy novel by the popular Victorian author H. Rider Haggard, published in 1905, as a sequel to his far more popular and well known novel, She. It was serialised in the Windsor Magazine in 1904-5.
Its significance was recognised by its republication by the Newcastle Publishing Company as the fourteenth volume of the celebrated Newcastle Forgotten Fantasy Library series in October 1977.
In the book's prologue, the book's anonymous "Editor" receives a parcel. Opening it, he finds a letter from Horace Holly, with an enclosed manuscript containing a second memoir about She. There is also a second letter, from Holly's doctor, to whom Holly has entrusted his letter and manuscript, along with a wooden box, which contains an ancient sistrum. The doctor recounts how, when attending Holly in his last hours, he arrived at the house to find that Holly had risen from his deathbed and made his way to a local ring of ancient standing stones. Following him, the doctor glimpsed a manifestation that appears to Holly, but as the vision vanished, Holly had let out a happy cry and died.
When the narrative of Holly's manuscript begins, nearly twenty years have passed since their first adventure in Africa, but he and his ward Leo Vincey are convinced that Ayesha did not die. Following their dreams, they wander for years through Asia, eventually coming to "Thibet" (as it is spelled in the book). Taking refuge over winter in a remote lamasery, they meet the old Abbot Kou-En, who claims to recall a past-life encounter tales with a witch queen from the time of Alexander the Great. The Abbott tries to dissuade them from going on and warns them that, however beautiful, nothing is immortal, even if the Queen was born centuries ago in Ancient Egypt or remembers it from a past life. He believes the Queen is holding on to the distractions of life, which will lead them away from Enlightenment and peace, whether she is a demon, a fallen angel, or only a dream...