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King Solomon's Mines (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 29 Nov 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed. / edition (29 Nov 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141439521
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141439525
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2 x 20.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Sir Henry Rider Haggard (1856-1925) was a prolific English writer, who published colorful novels set in unknown regions and lost kingdoms of Africa, or some other corner of the world: Iceland, Constantinople, Mexico, Ancient Egypt. Haggard's best-known work is the romantic adventure tale KING SOLOMON'S MINES (1885), which was inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson' s famous Treasure Island.

Giles Foden was born in Warwickshire in 1967. His family moved to Malawi in 1972 where he was brought up. His first novel, the acclaimed The Last King of Scotland (1998), is set during Idi Amin's rule of Uganda in the 1970s and won the Whitbread First Novel Award; his second novel, Ladysmith (1999), is set during the Anglo-Boer War in 1899; Zanzibar (2002), is set in East Africa and explores the events surrounding the bombings of American embassies in 1998. A new book, The Battle for Lake Tanganyika, was published in 2004.


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First Sentence
It is a curious thing that at my age—fifty-five last birthday—I should find myself taking up a pen to try and write a history. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Willmer VINE VOICE on 28 July 2008
Format: Paperback
One of the great action adventure stories of any age, Haggard flexes all of his creative musles to weave a spellbinding tale in 'King Solomon's Mines'. Leading us into the wilds of unexplored Africa, even the modern reader is confronted with a world few of us in the West will have expereinced - and probably never will. Haggard mixes all of the ingredients here: romance, battle scenes, a bit of magic and treasure. What more could you want?

Well, in truth as the years have gone by there are those that have levelled the charge of racism at Haggard. Okay, so he tneds to use the term 'negro' and 'native'. But he is a man of the Victorian era. Can we expet anything else? In my opinion I feel that Haggard treats his African characters with respect and dignity and should be hailed for that given the colonial atomposhere he was writing in.

That aside this novel is great fun and I would recommend it for all boys and those men (of which I inlude myself) who have yet to grow up!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sam Quixote TOP 50 REVIEWER on 14 Mar 2010
Format: Paperback
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bernie VINE VOICE on 3 April 2010
Format: Paperback
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. He may be a little verbose but every word has a use. 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 300 year old 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.

If you get a chance also hear the recording, an added plus is narration by John Richmond; He brings the characters to life and adds to the mystique that this story has been passed down.

If you cannot find a copy of the John Richmond, recording you can use the Kindle 2 text-to speak. It is not as smooth but it is functional.

King Solomon's Mines Starring: Deborah Kerr, Stewart Granger
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By Officer Dibble VINE VOICE on 8 Jun 2013
Format: Paperback
Another reviewer mentions 'shock' when reading this work and in many ways that is key. The late Victorian and Edwardian period featured a genre of British novel known as the 'shocker' of which this, along with Buchan's '39 Steps', is surely a prime example.

English Gentlemen keeping a stiff upper lip (even when taking out their false teeth!), as they roam around the pink parts of Africa. A book for boys, there is 'not a petticoat in the whole history'. The whole thing is crying out for the 'Ripping Yarns' treatment by Michael Palin; indeed some of the writing comes complete with it's own unexpected jokes.

The Penguin Classic version contains first class Notes and Introduction to merit the higher price. But 'Classic'? Surely not. It gives an insight to a time and a place; the Scramble For Africa when Britain Ruled the World but this is not a 'literary' classic.

So long as you don't try and compare it to something like 'Heart of Darkness', you will enjoy a silly romp that takes in the risque 'Sheba's Breasts' and a collection of primitive natives who speak like a cross between Somerset yokels and Sir Laurence Olivier.
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