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King Solomon's Mines (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

By H. Rider Haggard, Robert Hampson (Editor) & Giles Foden (Introduction by)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   260
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.82" Width: 5.51" Height: 0.76"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2008
Publisher   Penguin Group USA
Age  18
ISBN  0141439521  
EAN  9780141439525  

Availability  0 units.

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Item Description...
On a ship heading to Natal, English adventurer and fortune hunter Allan Quartermain meets Sir Henry Curtis and Captain John Good, who are on a quest to find Sir Henry's younger brother who vanished while seeking the King Solomon's fabled diamond mines deep in the African interior. Strangely, Quartermain has a map to the mines, drawn in blood, and he agrees to join the others dangerous quest. They face many dangers and adventures on their journey as they discover a frozen corpse, survive untold dangers in remote mountains and deserts, and encounter the merciless King Twala en route to the legendary hoard of diamonds. H. Rider Haggard's King Solomon's Mines has entertained generations of readers since its first publication in 1885.

Publishers Description
The first great "Lost World" action-adventure-a precursor to Indiana Jones
H. Rider Haggard's "King Solomon's Mines" has entertained generations of readers since its first publication in 1885. Following a mysterious map of dubious reliability, a small group of men trek into southern Africa in search of a lost friend-and a lost treasure, the fabled mines of King Solomon. Led by the English adventurer and fortune hunter Allan Quartermain, they discover a frozen corpse, survive untold dangers in remote mountains and deserts, and encounter the merciless King Twala en route to the legendary hoard of diamonds.

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More About H. Rider Haggard, Robert Hampson & Giles Foden

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! H. Rider Haggard (1856-1925) worked in South Africa during the time of Britian's war with the Zulus and the First Boer War. He turned these experiences into fiction on his return to England and achieved popular and critical acclaim with KING SOLOMON'S MINES (1885), ALLAN QUATERMAIN (1887) and SHE (1887).

H. Rider Haggard was born in 1856 and died in 1925.

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1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Classics   [0  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
For people who hate literature  May 18, 2010
Every so often I get the feeling that a good old timey adventure book would be a good thing to read. This is (hopefully) the last time I think this as the results are always dire. Conan Doyle's "The Lost World" was one hell of a struggle. Chesterton's "The Man Who Was Thursday" was dreadful. However, Rider Haggard's "King Solomon's Mines" takes the prize for most unreadable load of old toss ever.

3 Englishmen ponce into Africa on a treasure hunt. They cross romantic terrain, shoot majestic animals, patronise and insult black people, before leaving with a few pocketfuls of giant diamonds back to Blighty. What ho!

Sounds a bit of a lark, what? It's not. First off, Haggard has his hero Quatermain say in the first chapter that they went to Africa, did this, did that, and made it back home with the treasure. Oh great, now I'm really on the edge of my seat. Now when Quatermain and chums are in danger and the chapter ends on a "cliffhanger" (by Victorian standards) I'll know that they make it out because this was explained in the first chapter!

Also, Haggard has the annoying habit of describing every single meaningless detail in a scene. So when they cross the desert, you have endless descriptions of wind, and how thirsty everyone is, and how if they don't make it they'll die and the characters start whinging and don't stop and will they make it..? Look an oasis, we're saved! No tension whatsoever anyway, we all know they make it BECAUSE THEY SAY SO AT THE START! All this needless exposition and attempts at drama are useless if we know the characters make it.

The most offending attempt at literature in this amazingly labelled "classic" is the way Haggard deals with Africans. They're all "noble savages" who for some reason speak like medieval dukes. "Thou hast", "ye", "sayest not", "hark", etc all make regular appearances in their speech but does he honestly think Africans speak like that?! The Englishmen patronise the Africans like pets and Haggard has the Africans run about like gormless children, either behaving "nobly" ie. standing around bored saying nothing, or like coked up teens with a hormone imbalance, ie. screaming, tearing hair, killing people randomly. No attempt at characterisation is made and none of the characters seem at all real. In fact they all sound remarkably the same, like a middle class educated Englishman.

This is the most tedious novel I've ever read, it actually made me angry while I was reading. Haggard can't seem to accept the reader has the capacity to fill in the gaps. For example, rather than say "they went to the ridge and sat down", he has to say "they gathered up their things (items are listed and digressed), and after several parting words (list numerous mundane words), hastened up the path (description of path and weather), while we wondered about (list everything thats happened thus far) and upon reaching the ridge (list various mundane observations the characters have made while walking) we sat down and gazed at the view (list needless description of mountain range)." It's EXHAUSTING. I hurled the book away from me every time I sat it down (about every 3 chapters) and am amazed at my tolerance for poor writing.

How is this a classic? It's not at all on the level of "Great Expectations" or "The Picture of Dorian Gray" or numerous other examples. There's no profundity, no great story, no great writing. Haggard is a very minor writer and his contribution to literature is very small, if at all recognisable. I am amazed this is listed as a classic when it is the 1880s version of a Lee Child novel. Give this a wide book berth, it's appalling.
A celebration of Victorian values  Sep 23, 2009
H. Rider Haggard's "King Solomon's Mines" is at once a ripping adventure yarn and a celebration of Victorian values. The book - the first of the "Lost World" genre - features at trio of English adventurers: the elephant hunter Allan Quatermain, an aristocrat Sir Henry Curtis and his companion Captain Good. Curtis wants to find his brother who was last seen leaving to find the mine of the title.

Curtis is a shining example of the aristocracy - brave and virtuous - a knight in every sense of the word. Good and Quatermain are also fine Englishment who know their place. Haggard was certainly in favour of the established order. To modern eyes the book is incredibly racist and misogynistic but compared to other literature of the time is positively progressive.

You can certainly see where the inspiration for "Raiders of the Lost Ark" came from.
If you are thinking Debra Kerr you will be shocked.  Apr 9, 2009
I grew up on the movie so it was quit a shocker to read the book. As stated in the beginning there are no petticoated women in this book. It is a men's adventure written by a man for men. You can not miss the hand of H. Rider Haggard as he has a unique sense of humor that pops up at the strangest times. And as with written stories this one is much more intricate than the movie adaptations. You will find many assumptions of the time such as any complex construction must have been built by white people and natives on their own may turn savage.

The story is told first person by Allan Quartermain. Nevil is off to make his fortune by finding King Solomon's lost diamond mines. Allan sends him a map to help. This is the last anyone heard from Nevil. Turns out that Nevil is really the estranged brother of Henry Curtis. Sir Henry Curtis now wants to make amends and he with his friend Captain John Good, bribe Allan Quartermain to take them across an endless desert and trough impassible mountains to an adventure that will hold you to the very end. Along with them is their self imposed helper Umbopa who carries a secret of his own.

King Solomon's Mines Starring: Deborah Kerr, Stewart Granger
Great adventure tale  Feb 7, 2008
I had heard of King Solomon's Mines my entire life but never read it. Now I know what I'd been missing. H. Rider Haggard's breakout novel is a grand, enjoyable adventure, a sort of Indiana Jones prototype from the great age of Victorian imperialism.

The narrator, Allan Quatermain, is a middle-aged big game hunter who has somehow managed to survive decades in the African wilderness. His name is known far and wide, and as a result he is approached by a pair of men with an unusual proposition. One of the men, Sir Henry Curtis, has lost an estranged brother whom he believes was searching for the legendary diamond mines of King Solomon. Quatermain just happens to possess a map and some personal knowledge of the legends, and with a deal in place to grant him half of the diamonds--should they find some as well as Curtis's brother--he agrees to join them on the journey.

Naturally, a great deal more happens to the party than they originally expected. Elephant hunts, witchcraft, and tribal warfare complicate their quest, but in the end all works out well--if unexpectedly--for most involved. Quatermain recounts the tale in a rapid, exciting manner that gripped me from the first chapter. This is one of a very few books I've read in a single day.

This Penguin Classics edition of King Solomon's Mines reproduces the first edition text of Haggard's novel. As an appendix, a heavily-revised chapter from later editions is offered as a point of comparison with the original. The editor's notes are good, though they failed to explain one or two minor things and missed some rather obvious historical allusions. A preface and introduction place Haggard's work in its historical context and offer some interesting critical insights, but are by no means required reading and, honestly, are a little dull next to Allan Quatermain's epic quest.

Overall, King Solomon's Mines is a great adventure story for readers of all ages, with well-drawn characters and exciting episodes on every page. Don't make my mistake and wait so long to read it.

Highly recommended.

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