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King Solomon's Mines (Penguin Classics) Paperback – January 29, 2008
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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.
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
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
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A fun, light read which takes you through themes of fatherhood, friendship and honor. A lot of fun -- especially the part about the "white legs."Published 4 days ago by novelfan
Such a great classic story, it's full of cliches but since it's from 19th century it is wonderful. Even got audible version to enjoy it both ways!Published 9 days ago by Igor K.
A wealthy aristocrat (Sir Henry Curtis) seeks out legendary hunter, Allan Quatermain, to help him find a brother who went missing while in search of the diamond mines of King... Read morePublished 18 days ago by Bernie Gourley
I wish I had read this sooner. This is a great adventure that will keep you captivated. I think I will read more of this author.Published 26 days ago by Amazon Customer
It holds up well. Not hard to see how it inspired a genre and a seemingly endless supply of derivative scripts. Great fun!Published 1 month ago by B. Flavin
It was a good read and moved right along. A good book to get a son or daughter into reading. It was just a little light on content for me.Published 1 month ago by 1911 guy
I don't read novels real often and I really enjoyed this one. Written in first person from the point of view of a well traveled African guide and adventurer in the 1880s named Alan... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Trainman95630