Kathryn's Reviews > King Solomon's Mines

King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard
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's review
Sep 22, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: adventure

King Solomon’s Mines is an adventure story starring a fellow named Allan Quatermain. He’s typical of the genre – an unassuming, purportedly ordinary man who has had many fantastic adventures over his years traveling in Africa and elsewhere. (I mean “fantastic” in its most literal sense, not as a general intensifier.) During the course of the book, Quatermain teams up with a few other men to follow an ancient treasure map to the location of King Solomon’s supposed mines in North Africa. The party is formed really to search for the brother of one of the other men, but naturally, once they discover that the brother had set off in search of the mines, the fabulous (I also mean “fabulous” in its most literal sense, not as a general intensifier) wealth of King Solomon preys on their minds.

Long story short, they make their way into the country told of by the map, and do eventually find the mines, as you might expect. They do not, however, realize as much profit as they had hoped.

The book is very much a product of its time in terms of its treatment of the natives in Africa, but you should know that going in. (It was almost as bad as some bits in the original Tom Swift.) The importance of the book (beyond reading an entertaining adventure story for its own sake, which I of course don’t wish to discourage!) is the influence it had on later writers. I’m a big fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs, E.E. “Doc” Smith, and similar writers of adventure fantasy and space opera, and the influence that Haggard had on these writers is evident. I said earlier that Quatermain is typical of the genre, but in fact, you might say he’s the archetype or perhaps prototype of the genre, since he is first in a long line of similar heroes (e.g., John Carter, Professor Challenger). King Solomon’s Mines was also the first Lost World novel.

If you’re a fan of the adventure stories from early in the twentieth century, I would definitely recommend King Solomon’s Mines due to the significent influence it had on the genre.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
May 2, 2010 – Finished Reading
September 22, 2011 – Shelved
September 22, 2011 – Shelved as: adventure

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Wreade1872 Hating this book even more than Kathryn did, i would like to mention some of the other Quartermain stories aren't terrible, such as the 'Ivory Child'.
I also mildly enjoyed Haggards book 'She' but LOVED the sequel to 'She', 'Ayesha'.

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