I formerly rated this one at only four stars since it lacks "gravitas" and is basically a pure, escapist tale. I thought that made it too light for the heady draught of five star-ism. But on reflection I think I was too harsh. The book does have staying power in my memory. So here goes.
Surely a classic, this was Haggard's first foray into the literary field -- to prove he could do it better than some of his contemporaries. Having spent time in South Africa as a minor civil servant, he drew on his experiences of that land to impart a feel for the country in this short, but by no means small, tale of treasure hunting and adventure among unknown and exotic peoples. This is the story of an over the hill "white hunter" taken into the service of two English gentlemen seeking the brother of one of them, who had disappeared years before on the edge of a great desert in vain (or perhaps not so vain) pursuit of the fabled mines of King Solomon. Along the way they are joined by an enigmatic native guide who is much more than what he seems as they stumble across previously unexplored (at least by Europeans) tracts of Africa and into a lost nation related, apparently, to the Zulus of southern Africa whom the English of that day so feared and respected. Drawn at once into the internal politics of these people and overawing them w/their European technology, they are soon in deadly peril from the cruel king of that country and the evil sorceress who conspires behind his throne.
But there's no use telling too much of a tale like this in a review -- the interested reader is urged to read it for him or herself. It's adventure in strange parts, for those with a taste to see how the great ones, like Haggard, did it.
Written on a bet to be a more exciting adventure story than Robinson Crusoe, KSM falls short perhaps because of the raised expectations. Yes, the adventurers, lead by the appealingly wry and self-deprecating narrator and big-time lion hunter Allan Quartermain, do reach the mines, but almost as an afterthought, and the anticipatory trek through "darkest Africa" (cultural sensitivity alert! This book is very much a product of its British Imperial times, and the racism can be … more
Like many of its contemporaries - Edgar Rice Burrough's Caspak, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Lost World, Jules Verne's subterranean Lidenbrock Sea and even HG Well's Island of Dr Moreau - KING SOLOMON'S MINES is a story of adventure into an exotic locale and can be summarized with the broadest brush in the most general terms as Indiana Jones with Victorian sensibilities and motives.
Like many of its contemporaries - Edgar Rice Burrough's Caspak, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Lost World, Jules Verne's subterranean Lidenbrock Sea and even HG Well's Island of Dr Moreau - KING SOLOMON'S MINES is a story of adventure into an exotic locale and can be summarized with the broadest brush in the most general terms as Indiana Jones with Victorian sensibilities and motives. Allan Quatermain, a gentleman adventurer who has by a combination of good … more
I'm a retired bureaucrat (having served, most recently, as an Assistant Commissioner in amunicipal agency in a major Northeastern American city). In 2002 I took an early retirement to pursue a lifelong … more
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Praised as "the most amazing story ever written," this 1885 story tells the tale in which Allan Quatermain, a gentleman adventurer, is hired to locate a man who has disappeared into the heart of Africa while hunting for the legendary lost diamond mines of King Solomon.