Contemporary reviews of the novel were coloured by the previous release of She and King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard. A review in the New York Times, 21 May 1888, notes that "if the author of 'A Strange Manuscript' were living he would find it a quite hopeless task to persuade people that he had not read and imitated 'She' and 'King Solomon's Mines'" while a review in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 3 June 1888, called the book a "somewhat belated story". Both reviews, along with a July 1888 review in The Week, a Toronto newspaper, commented positively on the illustrations by Gilbert Gaul.
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