Sean's Reviews > Three Adventure Novels: She, King Solomon's Mines, Allan Quatermain

Three Adventure Novels by H. Rider Haggard
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May 08, 08

bookshelves: adventure, historical, classics, gave-up-on
Read in May, 2008

H. Rider Haggard, his book She and his character Allan Quatermain are so heavily referenced throughout pop culture (even unknowingly) that I thought I simply had to read this when it fell into my hands. I suppose you could call this a learning experience: I learned I am not a fan.

Haggard may have had a strong influence on the army of novelists and comic-book artists and storytellers that followed him, and they have produced an astounding body of work in all possible genres, but he himself was not a very good writer. I read the first two books in this omnibus—She and King Solomon's Mines, but by that time I was so tired of his stop-and-go prose that I set it down. Maybe I'll go back and read Allan Quatermain some day, but the first chapter didn't seem promising.

Besides the technical writing faults, there is also an overt Christian bias (who ever heard of a pious adventure-story writer?), a more-or-less expected white bias and an avowed tendency to misogyny, none of which are easy for this modern reader to swallow.

I have to recommend this author and his books because of their influence on the modern English adventure story, but if you have no interest in the creation of archetypes and the like, I would suggest picking up one of the modern novels Haggard influenced instead of Haggard's work itself.
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