How many times has this book been made into a childish, dumbed-down, unexciting film? How many times has it been shown on television and how many times have you wondered how the pretty female lead manages to wander around central Africa with not a hair out of place or a drop of perspiration on her brow and without her clothes becoming stained or creased? Compared to this book every film of it has been nothing more than a pretty little fairy story.
In the book the only females are the evil, hundred year-old witch doctor, Gagool and the beatiful native girl, Foulata, who falls in love with one of them main male characters and finally comes to a gruesome, sticky end, murdered by Gagool.
In the last film of this book that was screened, the final battle was replaced by a couple of seven foot natives. circling lazily round and round one another, each waving his weapon vaguely in the direction his opponent until the true king, almost by accident, kills the other. Contrast this with the battle as described in the book.
Fighting against the evil king Twala, a native regiment, the Greys, goes into battle knowing that that they are being sacrificed in order to hold off superior numnbers until others come to their aid. This terrible, bloody battle describing how, led by the heroic Sir Henry Curtis, they were practically wiped out, occupies a full chapter and could having the making of a film on its own.
So what if the book was written at the end of the nineteenth century and reflects, occasionally uncomfortably,the thinking of that era regarding the African native? So what if the writing style of that age is a little more stilted then that of today?
After all, it was written one hundred and twenty seven years ago.
This is a terrifc adventure story and should be read by all children between the ages of eight and one hundred and eight.
Buy a copy, it will be the best value-for-money book you will ever read.
Eric Hulme.King Solomon's Mines (Oxford World's Classics)