One of the works that helped inspire Indiana Jones, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and lord knows what all else, King Solomon's Mines may not be a staggering work of fiction, but it nonetheless shaped a lot of literature (and films!) in the decades to come.
With that in mind I embarked on Allan Quatermain's journey to the titular mines, although they feature primarily at the end of the journey.
In fact, all together I'd have to say the experience was a bit episodic: first there's the almost-deadly journey through the desert, the almost-deadly entanglements with the natives, the almost-deadly experience in the mines(I don't think anything I've said here will spoil the book for anyone, but I won't elaborate further). For me that made this a book I read in chunks over a couple of weeks, rather than the kind of novel I devour as hard and fast as I can (see also The Hunger Games
, Storm Front
and the other Dresden Files books, etc).
And that's perfectly fine! The novel is a great adventure and a lot of fun, and even if it's not Faulkner or James Joyce or whatever, it's not entirely mindless pulp, either. Quatermain is at once a lover of Africa and even of Africans but at other moments shows his entirely period-appropriate sense of white superiority in an inconsistent mash that nonetheless feels very human-- as do all of the rest of the characters, except perhaps Gagool.
Excellent read. I'd pick up another Quatermain novel next, if I didn't have a stack of other items on my to-do list!