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King Solomon's Mines (Penguin Classics) Paperback – January 29, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


“A peculiarly thrilling and vigorous tale of adventure.” —Andrew Lang

About the Author

H. Rider Haggard (1856-1925) worked in South Africa during the time of Britian's war with the Zulus and the First Boer War. He turned these experiences into fiction on his return to England and achieved popular and critical acclaim with KING SOLOMON'S MINES (1885), ALLAN QUATERMAIN (1887) and SHE (1887).

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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (January 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141439521
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141439525
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (367 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #298,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

126 of 128 people found the following review helpful By Ein Kunde on June 12, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Reading "King Solomon's Mines" reminded me of the joke about the guy who sees his first Shakespere play, and when asked what he thought of it, said, "real good, but so many cliches". So it is with this classic adventure story: so much of the action and plot devices were similar to what I remembered from other adventure stories (and comic books and movies), yet Rider Haggard came decades earlier. Here is one of the prototypes (along with Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island", written just a few years earlier) of the modern adventure-action story. There is lots to admire in this well crafted story: great action, excitement, characters, and exotic locations. If there's a kid you know that only wants to watch television or play video games, read this book with him or her. It shows what words on a page can do in the imagination of the reader.
It is also interesting to see the book in its historical perspective. "King Solomon's Mines", 1885, records European ignorance of and fascination with Africa, which was still partly (as Joseph Conrad later called it in "Heart of Darkness") a blank area on the map: The source of the Nile had been discovered only two decades earlier; Henry Stanley and Richard Burton were still living, the memories of David Livingstone and John Speke were still fresh; and the Berlin Africa Conference was taking place just as the novel was going into print. If that's not of interest to you, skip it. Want to curl up with a good book? Here's one for you and your kids.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful By bernie HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 30, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
I grew up on the movie so it was quit a shocker to read the book. As stated in the beginning there are no petticoated women in this book. It is a men's adventure written by a man for men. You can not miss the hand of H. Rider Haggard as he has a unique sense of humor that pops up at the strangest times. And as with written stories this one is much more intricate than the movie adaptations. You will find many assumptions of the time such as any complex construction must have been built by white people and natives on their own may turn savage.

The story is told first person by Allan Quatemain. Nevil is off to make his fortune by finding King Solomon's lost diamond mines. Allan sends him a map to help. This is the last anyone heard from Nevil. Turns out that Nevil is really the estranged brother of Henry Curtis. Sir Henry Curtis now wants to make amends and he with his friend Captain John Good, bribe Allan Quartermain to take them across an endless desert and trough impassible mountains to an adventure that will hold you to the very end. Along with them is their self imposed helper Umbopa who carries a secret of his own.

King Solomon's Mines Starring: Deborah Kerr, Stewart Granger
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Stuart W. Mirsky on January 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
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.

The King of Vinland's Saga
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Jordan M. Poss VINE VOICE on February 7, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had heard of King Solomon's Mines my entire life but never read it. Now I know what I'd been missing. H. Rider Haggard's breakout novel is a grand, enjoyable adventure, a sort of Indiana Jones prototype from the great age of Victorian imperialism.

The narrator, Allan Quatermain, is a middle-aged big game hunter who has somehow managed to survive decades in the African wilderness. His name is known far and wide, and as a result he is approached by a pair of men with an unusual proposition. One of the men, Sir Henry Curtis, has lost an estranged brother whom he believes was searching for the legendary diamond mines of King Solomon. Quatermain just happens to possess a map and some personal knowledge of the legends, and with a deal in place to grant him half of the diamonds--should they find some as well as Curtis's brother--he agrees to join them on the journey.

Naturally, a great deal more happens to the party than they originally expected. Elephant hunts, witchcraft, and tribal warfare complicate their quest, but in the end all works out well--if unexpectedly--for most involved. Quatermain recounts the tale in a rapid, exciting manner that gripped me from the first chapter. This is one of a very few books I've read in a single day.

This Penguin Classics edition of King Solomon's Mines reproduces the first edition text of Haggard's novel. As an appendix, a heavily-revised chapter from later editions is offered as a point of comparison with the original. The editor's notes are good, though they failed to explain one or two minor things and missed some rather obvious historical allusions.
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