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A Son of Hagar A Romance of Our Time   By: (1853-1931)

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A Son of Hagar, penned by Hall Caine, takes its readers on an emotional and gripping journey through the complex themes of romance, class differences, and religious tensions. Set in the late 19th century, the novel artfully depicts the social fabric of that era, seamlessly interweaving various characters whose lives are bound together by fate and circumstance.

The story primarily revolves around the enigmatic protagonist, the enigma that is Dagobert Schwarzkopf. Born to a German father and an Arab mother, Dagobert finds himself caught between multiple worlds. This inner conflict is powerfully represented through his contrasting relationships with two women: Edith Strange, an English woman who embodies the values of a refined society, and Ailsa MacNeil, a woman of Scottish descent who represents the spirit of the working class.

Caine skillfully portrays the immense struggles faced by Dagobert as he tries to carve out his own identity in a society plagued by prejudice and intolerance. Despite his intellect and charm, his biracial background causes him to be treated with suspicion and contempt by both upper-class English society and his Arab relatives. This constant struggle for acceptance and belonging forms the core of the narrative, making it deeply relatable and thought-provoking.

The author's prose is eloquent and captures the essence of the time period effortlessly. Caine's vivid descriptions transport the reader into the murky streets of London, the bustling markets of Algiers, and the picturesque landscapes of Scotland. Each setting becomes a character in itself, adding depth and richness to the story.

A notable aspect of A Son of Hagar is its exploration of religious tensions and the clash between different faiths. Dagobert, torn between his Christian upbringing and his Islamic heritage, finds himself at odds with his family's strict religious practices. This dynamic adds an additional layer of complexity to the narrative, delving into the universal struggle between duty and personal beliefs.

While the novel beautifully captures the zeitgeist of its time, it does suffer from occasional melodrama and predictable plot twists. Additionally, some characters feel underdeveloped, their arcs overshadowed by Dagobert's. However, these minor shortcomings do not detract significantly from the overall impact and enjoyment of the story.

In conclusion, A Son of Hagar is a compelling and emotionally charged novel that highlights the challenges faced by individuals trapped between cultures, religion, and societal expectations. Through its multifaceted characters and skillful storytelling, Hall Caine has created a tale that continues to resonate with readers, reiterating the importance of empathy, acceptance, and the pursuit of self-discovery.

First Page:


A Romance of Our Time



Author of "The Bondsman," "The Deemster," etc.

"God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is."

New York Hurst & Company Publishers.



It must be an exceeding great reward, beyond all the rewards of material success, to know that you have written a book that is deep, tranquil, strong and pure. Again and again you have nobly earned that knowledge. Across the more than thirty years that divide us, the elder from the younger brother, the veteran from the raw comrade, let me offer my hand to you as to a master of our craft.

To the author, then, of a romance that has no equal save in Scott, I humbly dedicate this romance of mine.



barn=child; dusta=dost thou; hasta=hast thou.

laal=little; leet=alight; girt=great.

sista=se√ęst thou.


wadsta=wouldst thou.

wilta=wilt thou.

Shaf!= an expression of contempt .


In my first novel, "The Shadow of a Crime," I tried to penetrate into the soul of a brave, unselfish, long suffering man, and to lay bare the processes by which he raised himself to a great height of self sacrifice. In this novel the aim has been to penetrate into the soul of a bad man, and to lay bare the processes by which he is tempted to his fall... Continue reading book >>

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