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Allan Quatermain Paperback – June 20, 2011
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From the Back Cover
Allan Quatermain, sequel to King Solomon's Mines and based on Haggard's own experiences in Africa, was written in just ten weeks in 1885. Once more Alan Quatermain and his companions set out for Africa, this time in search of a white race reputed to live north of Mount Kenia. They survive fierce encounters with Masai warriors, undergo a terrifying subterranean journey, and discover a lost civilization before being caught up in a passionate love-triangle that engulfs the country in a ferocious civil war. The text is that of the first English book edition, with the more important corrections and revisions from the serialization of the novel in Longman's Magazine given in the Explanatory Notes. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Sir Henry Rider Haggard, (1856–1925) was an English writer of adventure novels set in exotic locations, predominantly Africa, and a founder of the Lost World literary genre. He was also involved in agricultural reform around the British Empire. His stories, situated at the lighter end of Victorian literature, continue to be popular and influential.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Kindle formatting was OK for this. The one gripe I had is that there were various end notes that were really at the end of the book. Because it's kind of hard to turn real pages and then flip back, it would have been nice if the notes had been at the ends of chapters.
However, since this version was free, I'm not going to dock it a star. There weren't that many notes anyway, and they weren't that vital to the story.
This is the story of Allan Quartermain's last adventure. He, Sir Henry Curtis, and Commander John Good go in search of a lost city of white people in Africa. There is also Umslopagaas, a Zulu ex-chief/warrior, who might be my favorite character. I hope he shows up in another Allan Quartermain novel. (Curtis & Good are also in King Solomon's Mines, and so far, Umslopagaas has been mentioned, but I don't know if he'll actually show up.)
The book is a lot of fun. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes a good adventure story.
That said, I found the writing "beautiful". Like H. G. Wells, Rider Haggard's use of the English language is rich and fulfilling. If only more novels were as respectful in their use of English. We've forgotten how to be ebullient in our expression or thought.
The two novels I've read here are King Solomon's Mines (his first work in 1885) and Allan Quatermain (written in 1887 as the sequel. These two works, being the first and second about Allan Quatermain, actually cover his introduction and his death. There are other books in this series that came later, but they are all prequels to these two books, which were written first. These two books go hand in hand and I am combining the two into one review.
The first novel, King Solomon's Mines, is the traditional Lost World work. Here we find Quatermain and his two companions Sir Henry Curtis and Captain Good, enter into deepst, darkest Africa in search of Sir Henry's brother. They are accompanied by a native Umbopa, who has a secret that will lead to a hidden treasure, a civil war and some high adventure.
This is written in true Victorian manner, right down to the language. At the time Africa was mostly unknown and believed to have secreted some very savage tribes and the wildest of animals. The most anyone knew were stories that English hunters told over brandy and cigars at the Private Gentlemen's Clubs in London.
Haggard had plenty of experience as he spent time in South Africa. This lends much authenticity to the works and the use of the local colloquialisms and the inclusion of Zulu and native names and language make the books feel realistic. There are parts where he describes the exact equipment Quatermain takes with him on the expedition, and he lists every rifle, every make, every model, every round and it is quite amusing to see what was considered important at the time.
King Solomon's Mines is a look at a time and place when imagination made the unknown even more wild and exciting than it was in reality. It is a good read and as amusing as it is adventuresome.
Allan Quatermain is another Lost World fiction piece, but the focus is more on the kind of Utopia Haggard had in mind in comparison to the kind of life experienced in England at that time.
Again, we are taken into the deepest part of Africa with his companions Sir Henry and Captain Good, but this time it is in search of a hidden tribe of white Africans that is rumored to be hidden in the deepest part of Africa. Quatermain also takes along a faithful servant Umslopogas, a Zulu chief who has been a friend to Quatermain for a long time.
A side note here. While the novels are characteristic of the English attitude towards their colonies, Haggard treats the black African as the noble savage, giving them due respect for their culture. I did not notice any kind of stereotyping, rather in this novel Umslopogas is a hero. Haggard does immortalize his black natives as individuals who stand out in a culture that breeds noble men of action, even if they are primitive in nature. This is Africa, and the black man is the lord and master of that continent. He also seemed very fond of the Zulu race in particular.
So, Quatermain, Good and Sir Henry embark on an adventure to find the lost white tribe, and are rewarded with savage tribes, civil war, battles, treasure and beautiful women and Victorian romance. We also find Quatermain mortally wounded doing the honorable thing. It is a wonderful tale, and is made even more intriguing as we see into Haggard's idea of the perfect culture, uncluttered by greed, social status or muddy law. The culture rises and falls on love. We have civil war, romance and a perfect culture.
I downloaded the free Kindle versions of King Solomon's Mines and Allan Quatermain, and the books were not that bad in formatting and editing. Nothing really blaring in spelling errors and the formatting was average. I find these two books to be well worth the free download.
So, stick that copy of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen back in the DVD library and forget Richard Chamberlain in the lead - and give the original works a read. I think you will be delighted with these two books.
Well, I'm a big fan of Sean Connery so as far as I know, he played the part well. So what's the deal with AQ, who is he, why does he do what he does? If you've ever wondered, crack this book open. It was written a long time ago, 1887 in fact and you can tell by the way the book reads, especially the dialogue. The characters seem your typical stout British adventurers, albeit a bit long in the tooth. All in all, it was a good read- more fantastical than I thought it would be. As I wasn't sure what to expect, I kept an open mind and found that I did enjoy the book, but it isn't one that I'd find myself fondly revisiting for nostalgia's sake. You know how it is- you can like a book and still not connect to the source material or the characters; still a good book, just not a great one for me.