It’s a pleasure to sit down to write a review of this superb book. I’ll begin with the embarrassing confession that I was entirely ignorant to the exi...moreIt’s a pleasure to sit down to write a review of this superb book. I’ll begin with the embarrassing confession that I was entirely ignorant to the existence of our fictional friend Allan Quatermain until I first watched an extremely average film, namely The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. In this, Quatermain, played by Sean Connery, stood out among the rest of the ‘league’ as an interesting character, possibly due to his ostensible lack of mystical powers and conspicuous possession of ample modesty.
With my interest stirred after a recent reassessment of the 19th century literary protagonists in this film, I researched Allan Quatermain and came up with King Solomon’s Mines as the book to purchase. I am especially glad that I did and have truly enjoyed the novel that I feared pre-read might be more suited to teenage boys. It isn’t (I’m 26).
The slightly unfortunately named author, Haggard, has produced a character (whose countenance is often alluded to as haggard also, reinforced by the illustrations should you have them in the version you (should) own) who is very endearing indeed. Quatermain charms the reader with his modesty throughout and is surely one of the great fictional characters invented, assuming he remains unaltered throughout the numerous prequels and sequels. Throw in two great friends and a handful of other characters and you have the sum of the personalities throughout the whole tale who, though few, make it rich and engaging throughout.
I won’t attempt to summarise the plot, but let it suffice to say that it’s definitely one for the boys and men (see the author’s dedication before judging me as sexist) and has all the adventureful goodness you could desire. It has action aplenty, abounding Britishness and a smattering of Indiana Jones/Tomb Raider undertones.
A thoroughly enjoyable book; highly recommended. 5/5 (less)
Dawkins has produced a fabulous book here; well-structured, well-written, factual, educational and inspiring work from a terrifically erudite man.
If...moreDawkins has produced a fabulous book here; well-structured, well-written, factual, educational and inspiring work from a terrifically erudite man.
If you dislike the prominent role religion plays in all our lives, whether we wish it to or not, you will appreciate this book and almost certainly learn a thing or two. He systematically chips away at religion and its apologists until nothing remains but the rotten core that has blighted the world for millennia.
I sincerely hope that many of those who question their faith or have even the slightest inkling that their beliefs are outmoded and archaic will pick up a copy of this book and truly become enlightened. And it is with equal sincerity and even greater zeal that I recommend you purchase this book if you haven’t already done so. But please, for god’s sake (and yours), read it!
So, this is Mr Becker’s fourth novel of its type with policeman Chris Bronson as focal point and protagonist? I didn’t know this when I picked it up f...moreSo, this is Mr Becker’s fourth novel of its type with policeman Chris Bronson as focal point and protagonist? I didn’t know this when I picked it up from the shelf in a well known supermarket simply for its ornate and decorative (although also slightly tawdry) cover. The back of the book contains a brief synopsis that mentions Bohemia in 1741, the desecration of the corpse of an aristocratic female, Venice in the modern day and an adventure centred on graveyards and the death of more young women. This coupled with its intriguing title was enough for me to find it amongst my groceries when I was unpacking the supermarket bags at home.
My verdict of the story was mixed. I was keen to read it quickly as it is a veritable page-turner. You will certainly find yourself reluctant to put the book down once the story is underway. That said, the writing style is a little infantile for my taste. It fails to exercise the brain in any way, but that was almost certainly not the author’s intention anyway. It is a thriller in the truest sense of the genre title, and lovers of books of this nature will not be disappointed. There are certainly some implausible branches of the tale; real ‘as-if’ moments. Nevertheless, they’re not too numerous and don’t make a ruin of the rest of the details.
The author concludes the book, after the story, with a few historical details to give the reader a sense of the research that must have been conducted in order to complete this literary work. This actually made me respect it slightly more that I would have otherwise.
All-in-all a good effort by Becker. I will likely pick up the other three in the Chris Bronson series for when I’m just after mindless entertainment and escapism. 3/5. (less)