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In the Wilderness   By: (1864-1950)

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In "In the Wilderness" by Robert Smythe Hichens, readers are taken on a captivating journey through the desolate and untamed landscapes of Egypt. The novel follows the story of a young Englishman named Doran Mavraidakis who finds himself torn between two very different worlds. Hichens masterfully weaves together a tale of adventure, love, and self-discovery, creating a narrative that enthralls from beginning to end.

Set against the backdrop of Egypt's vast and mystical desert, the author skillfully portrays the harsh realities and mesmerizing allure of this unique environment. Through vivid and detailed descriptions, readers are transported to a world filled with shifting sand dunes, scorching sunsets, and a sense of both danger and fascination. Hichens captures the essence of the wilderness, conveying its beauty and volatility, making it an almost tangible entity throughout the story.

Doran, the protagonist, serves as an excellent vehicle for the exploration of various themes and conflicts. As a young man torn between his English upbringing and his affinity for the wild Egyptian landscapes, he grapples with a sense of identity and belonging. Hichens intricately reveals Doran's internal struggle, allowing readers to empathize with his journey towards self-discovery.

Moreover, the novel delves into the intricate complexities of human relationships, particularly through the romantic liaison between Doran and the enigmatic Zaida. Their love affair is beautifully depicted, filled with both passion and obstacles, mirroring the tumultuous nature of the wild surroundings they find themselves in. Hichens showcases his talent for capturing raw emotions and the intricacies of human connection, rendering these aspects of the story highly relatable and engaging.

The author's writing style is rich, evocative, and full of poetic descriptions. Hichens expertly paints vivid images with his words, immersing readers in the captivating allure of the novel's setting. The narrative flows smoothly, punctuated by moments of tension and intrigue, ensuring that readers are constantly curious about the next turn of events.

Despite the many strengths of "In the Wilderness," the novel does have its drawbacks. At times, the pacing feels slow, particularly during passages dedicated to the extensive descriptions of the environment. While these descriptions are incredibly well-crafted, they may drag on for too long, causing some readers to lose interest. Additionally, some secondary characters could have been more developed, as their presence feels overshadowed by the central relationship between Doran and Zaida.

Overall, "In the Wilderness" is a captivating and evocative novel that transports readers to a world of untamed beauty. Hichens' writing prowess shines throughout, immersing readers in the enchanting setting and the emotional journey of its characters. Despite minor flaws, it is a compelling read that will appeal to fans of adventure, romance, and exploration of one's own identity.

First Page:


By Robert Hichens



Amedeo Dorini, the hall porter of the Hotel Cavour in Milan, stood on the pavement before the hotel one autumn afternoon in the year 1894, waiting for the omnibus, which had gone to the station, and which was now due to return, bearing Amedeo hoped a load of generously inclined travelers. During the years of his not unpleasant servitude Amedeo had become a student of human nature. He had learnt to judge shrewdly and soundly, to sum up quickly, to deliver verdicts which were not unjust. And now, as he saw the omnibus, with its two fat brown horses, coming slowly along by the cab rank, and turning into the Piazza that is presided over by Cavour's statue, he prepared almost mechanically to measure and weigh evidence, to criticize and come to a conclusion.

He glanced first at the roof of the omnibus to take stock of the luggage pile there. There was plenty of it, and a good deal of it was leather and reassuring. Amedeo had a horror of tin trunks they usually gave such small tips. Having examined the luggage he sent a searching glance to two rows of heads which were visible inside the vehicle. The brawny porters hurried out, the luggage chute was placed in position, the omnibus door was opened, and the first traveler stepped forth... Continue reading book >>

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