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King Solomon's Mines (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 41 review with 3 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Posted April 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A Fun Book

    King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Hag­gard is a novel first pub­lished 1885. This novel is the first to fea­ture adven­turer Alan Quater­main.

    The adven­turer and white Hunter Alan Quater­main is approached by Sir Henry Cur­tis and his friend Cap­tain Good to lead an expe­di­tion into the heart of Africa to find Cur­tis' brother. The brother was in search of the fabled King Solomon's Mines.

    Quater­main, who is in a pos­ses­sion of a map to the mines which he never taken seri­ously, agrees to go but don't think they'll return alive. The adven­tur­ers brave heat, cold, dessert and jun­gle on their arduous journey.

    King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Hag­gard is an easy to read, fast paced and light read. The impor­tant thing to remem­ber when read­ing books such as this is not to take them too seriously.

    This is a sim­ple tale, filled with swash­buck­ling adven­tures and explo­rations galore. Some of the book sim­ply drags, other parts are offen­sive in today’s terms (which I don’t hold it against the book) and some parts are sim­ply funny. I espe­cially found the pompous atti­tude of some of the char­ac­ters (mostly Quater­main) hilarious.

    ""How is it, O strangers," asked the old man solemnly, "that this fat man (point­ing to Good, who was clad in noth­ing but boots and a flan­nel shirt, and has only half fin­ished his shav­ing), whose body is clothed, and whose legs are bare, who grows hair on one side of his sickly face and not on the other, and who wears one shin­ing and trans­par­ent eye– how is it, I ask, that he has teeth which move of them­selves, com­ing away from the jaws and return­ing of their own will?"

    Haggard’s tale is cer­tainly writ­ten to tar­get the Britain of the times, colo­nial is big, Africans are belit­tled and the white hunter is all but god among men. Many other adven­ture sto­ries, sans the racism, have used this for­mula where the hero can over­come any odds and still keep a good atti­tude and calm disposition.

    Hag­gard goes into great details about which sup­plies Quater­main and his crew took on their adven­tures, includ­ing the type of wag­ons and even immu­niz­ing cat­tle. I couldn’t decided if these were sim­ply tedious details to ensure some sem­blance of authen­tic or just sheer brag­ging of the author.

    This is not a book for polit­i­cally cor­rect minded peo­ple, the protagonist’s descrip­tion of Africans and ani­mals usu­ally has a neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tion to them. Quater­main con­tin­u­ally dis­misses the native pop­u­la­tion as beneath him and/or other Euro­peans. As this is not unex­pected, it is still some­what amus­ing to read how peo­ple thought a few decades ago.

    The book’s premise is that Quater­main is telling this story to his son – some sort of a fire­side story. While it’s a nice intro­duc­tion, it does of course ruins the mys­tery of whether or not he will survive.

    The char­ac­ter­i­za­tion in the novel is not much t

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 41 review with 3 star rating   See All Ratings
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