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The Jewel of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker

The Jewel of Seven Stars (1903)

by Bram Stoker

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Great book, but a very odd and abrupt ending. ( )
  DanielAlgara | Sep 26, 2014 |
This book, by the author of Dracula, of course, seems to combine horror with elements of mystery or whodunnit and of Rider Haggard-style fantasy. I’d say that the horror aspect is quite muted and that it is the mystery and fantasy elements that are more to the fore. Because of that mystery element, I really can’t give an outline of the plot without spoiling things for new readers. I’ll just say that our narrator gets called in to help when a wealthy collector of ancient Egyptian antiquities falls into some sort of coma or trance after a mysterious assault, and the story proceeds from there.

This is not an epistolary novel like Dracula but is told in the first person by one of the protagonists, Malcolm Ross. It’s a shorter book, too, and those who find Dracula rather heavy going might find this a more entertaining read.

I suppose I must fault it on a couple of small issues:

There are several places where Stoker really slows things down when the narrator or another protagonist discusses the religious implications or the anticipated outcomes of what they are doing – their ‘Great Experiment’. I think Stoker could have improved the book by putting some work into distilling these down a bit. These passages are not that difficult to get through, however, and there are not too many of them.

Also, it was only on thinking over the book some time after finishing it that I realised there were one or two, quite big, loose ends unanswered; but Stoker is such a good tale-spinner, carrying you along with him so well, that you just don’t notice when you’re actually reading (or, at least, I didn’t).

To sum up, I found it a quite delightful read. I think it comes firmly under the category of ‘a good yarn’ – good entertainment rather than ‘great literature’, perhaps, but very involving. When Stoker is on form, which is most of it, it’s a real page-turner.

I should mention that the book has two endings: the original one, published in 1903, and a revised one for an edition of 1912, which, apparently, was the only one available up until recent years. I’d advise prospective readers to get hold of an edition with the original ending for their first reading, In my opinion, the original ending is a good, strong, if rather dark one - and it fits, while the revised ending is little more than an act of vandalism and really deflates the force of the story – it just doesn’t really fit (I believe there is some suggestion that it wasn't actually Stoker who wrote it). You can quickly tell the difference thus: the original version has twenty chapters, including Chapter XVI, 'Powers - Old and New'; the revised edition has only nineteen, with that one missing. ( )
3 vote alaudacorax | Aug 30, 2012 |
Probably the best thing about this book (to me) is the super-kitschy Edwardian take on Egypt and Egyptology. Otherwise, though, the characters are mostly drippy, and the Big Bad only appears on the very last page, which is a bit disappointing. Dracula it ain't. ( )
1 vote amydross | May 3, 2012 |
This is a reasonably compelling supernatural tale by Bram Stoker. The character of Margaret is the most interesting, and in particular the relationship between her and the long dead Egyptian queen Tera. Stoker does a pretty nice job of making the supernatural aspects of this story believable, especially for 1903, though today, much of this would be debunked.

I have only one warning for those interested in reading this book. Make sure you get the original version, not the version with the re-written ending (which applies to most copies in print today). The newer version has an ending which, frankly almost makes reading the book a waste of time, by essentially making the "great experiment" an anti-climactic non-factor. The easiest way to tell which version you've got is by the number of chapters. The original version has 20 chapters, and the "bastardized" version has 19 chapters. ( )
1 vote devious_dantes | Jan 21, 2010 |
The Jewel of Seven Stars is a flawed yet compelling book by Stoker. I have found stoker creates interesting female characters, especially for the era in which he lived. They are often educated brave and profoundly forward thinking and at other times (or in other characters) in need of saving.

The plot involves a man in a trance after a mysterious attack which seems to be linked to the Egyptian artifacts he has spent his life studying. As in Dracula, Stoker is interested in the themes of death and immortality.

It is worth finding a version with the ending Stoker originally wrote and the happier ending on which his publishers insisted. The happier ending feels slapped on and contradicts earlier sections of the last chapter. ( )
1 vote Marensr | Jun 11, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141442212, Paperback)

A mysterious attack on Margaret Trelawney's father brings young lawyer Malcolm Ross into the Egyptologist's bizarre home, and the couple soon find they are battling ancient forces greater than they previously could have imagined. The Egyptian queen Tera has been awoken, and is coming to take what she believes to be hers - whatever the cost to the Trelawney family. Set in London and Cornwall, and written at a time when a fascination with the East pervaded Victorian England, "The Jewel of Seven Stars" reflected the perceived contrast between the Orient's savagery and moral degradation, and its exotic beauty and opulence.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:37 -0400)

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Commonly believed to be Bram Stoker's most successful novel after 'Dracula', this story takes up the themes of immortality through supernatural and horrific means, and examines afresh the then current vogue of Egyptology.

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