Horace Holly, a mentor and protector of Leo Vincey, is a Cambridge learned man whose keen intellect and greed for knowledge led him to master a number of ancient languages, including Greek, Arabic, and Hebrew, which allowed him to communicate with the tribe of Amahagger and Queen Ayesha during their African escapade. Holly's interest in archaeology and the origins of civilisation made it possible for him and his young ward to set off for the journey to Africa with the view to explore the ruins of Kôr in search for the answers to the ancient secrets of Leo's family. To great astonishment of the Amahagger people, Holly – a kind and loyal wiseman, succeeded in wining trust and respect of the ruthless Queen Ayesha herself.
Clive Nolan about Holly: “Holly is a loyal man and very protective of Leo. We generally see most of the story through his eyes, both in the original book and indeed in the musical. Holly can see that Leo is walking into danger with Ayesha, but he has to allow his friend the freedom to make his own choices… a difficult decision for him, I think!”
In H.R. Haggard's words: “'Yes,' he answered, "Leo is the handsomest man in the University, and one of the nicest too. They call him 'the Greek god'; but look at the other one, Horace Holly's Leo's guardian, and supposed to be full of every kind of information. They call him 'Charon.'" I looked, and found the older man quite as interesting in his way as the glorified specimen of humanity at his side. He appeared to be about forty years of age, and was I think as ugly as his companion was handsome. To begin with, he was shortish, rather bow-legged, very deep chested, and with unusually long arms. He had dark hair and small eyes, and the hair grew right down on his forehead, and his whiskers grew right up to his hair, so that there was uncommonly little of his countenance to be seen. Altogether he reminded me forcibly of a gorilla, and yet there was something very pleasing and genial about the man's eye. I remember saying that I should like to know him.” (Extract from H.R. Haggard's 'She')