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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 to 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.
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on 19 August 2005
This is a good old fashioned adventure story that takes place in Africa. Yes the story is far fetched but once you get into it you just can't put it down. The descriptions of the exotic landscapes would have excited readers in the nineteenth century but I still feel that they make a modern reader, who will have either visited Africa or at least seen it on TV, feel in awe at the wild nature of the country.

If you are at all politically correct then you will not enjoy this book because of the descriptions of the African tribes and the fact that some of the characters hunt wild elephants. But if that doesn't bother you then you will find that the characters are wonderfully fun and lively, with "Alan Q" having several more books created about his adventures.
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on 15 June 1999
I am eleven and I found this book an enjoyable read. It was written a long time ago and it was first published in 1885 or so I read. Therefore some of the language is hard for some people who might read it. It has many things that are now illegal. For example there are elephant hunts and killing of giraffes.The ending is a bit dramatic and a bit far fetched but still a good read.
33 comments|25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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 to 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.
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on 12 July 2013
I tried this book grudgingly and I have to admit I was very pleasantl surprised. This book was written over a century ago yet still remains a swashbuckling tale of intrigue and adventure.

Admittedly, despite the book being remarkably progressive for its day, portraying Africans (notably Zulus) as noble warriors and wise chiefs, Haggard does display some of the prejudices of his era, remarking of Ventvogel that he was prone to bouts of drinking 'as was typical of his race' and disapproving of the romance between Captain Goode and the Kukuana girl Foulata. It's important to see past this however and to remember that when the book was written people had a different moral outlook- focusing on the political incorrectness will simply serve to hinder your enjoyment of what is essentialy a 19th century equivalent of toda's action movies.
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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
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on 21 June 2013
Years since I read this classic book and I had forgotten the story which is good Boys Own stuff. Much of it is not politically correct these days but in the era it was written these ideas were accepted so we must not frown on the ideas expressed in the book. In days gone by hanging was accepted as a suspended sentence but not today. Running the Ordeal was another practise and being stretched on the wrack but if they are included in stories we just accept them. Interesting novel. The author wrote other trilling follow-up books to this one.
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King Solomon's Mines is a great adventure story. I imagine that when he thought up Indiana Jones, Stephen Spielberg must have had a copy of book to hand.

The story concerns Allen Quartermain, a 50-something English big game hunter who has heard the story of a Portugese trader who had discovered somewhere in South Africa the actual mines where King Solomon's diamonds had been mined and where much of his priceless jewellery was still stored.

Quartermain is recruited by an English aristocrat Sir Henry Curtis to go and find the treasure and hopefully find Curtis' brother who had also been on a quest to find the treasure but who was now missing. They bring Quartermain's friend, Captain John Good. They make an interesting trio. Quartermain narrates the tale and is practical, believing himself to be cowardly but perhaps has a great survival instinct as a hunter. Curtis is a big man of noble bearing and great courage. Good is more comical; he is extremely romantic and just a bit vain, with his false teeth and glass eye. On the journey they are joined by the enigmatic zulu, Umbopo.

On the journey, they encounter arid desert and freezing cold mountains and they fall into a civil war in the fictional Kukuanaland, an isolated zulu nation. Here, Umbopo shows his true nature.

They do reach the mine; I hope no-one regards that as a spoiler. Getting there and what happens in the mines makes for a pretty exciting Victorian romp.

Some readers have found that the story is a bit condescending to African. I personally didn't find this. Some also find it hard to understand why the Kakuana's appear to speak like Shakespearean characters with plenty of thees and thous. I think the point is they were speaking in an archaic form of the zulu language and Quartermain was translating. I think he was conveying the otherworldliness of the language.

The book was an immediate bestseller and has been in print ever since. Having read it I can understand why.

Recommended.
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on 21 July 2011
A REVIEW OF `KING SOLOMON'S MINES BY H. RIDER HAGGARD

In many ways, `King Solomon's Mines' is THE classic adventure story. First published in 1885, and written in response to a wager that he could not produce a story half-as-good as `Treasure Island', H. Rider Haggard left a legacy which continues today, not only in literature, but also in such films as `Indiana Jones...' and `National Treasure'. The plot is simplicity itself: Whilst in deepest Africa, gnarled elephant hunter, Allan Quartermain receives an irresistible offer from two fellow Englishmen to join them on a quest to find the lost treasures believed to be hidden in King Solomon's Mine. Added to this, one of the fellow adventurers, Sir Henry Curtis, is looking for his brother who seemingly disappeared on the same quest. Equipped with plenty of guns and ammunition, Quartermain's scrawled map of the region, and some native companions, they are off.

`King Solomon's Mines' wastes no time laboriously setting the scene. Indeed, the first third of the book is a fast-paced tale, full of movement, during which our heroes face all manner of hardships, attempting to reach the road that leads to untold riches. The perils that they face are evocatively and realistically told and the reader is easily drawn into the adventure.

And then, it rather grinds to a halt. The middle third takes the narrative in an entirely different direction. All thoughts of lost treasure and missing siblings vanish, as we are caught up in a bitter and brutal civil war between two rivals for the throne of Kukuanaland. Admittedly, once the fighting begins, the action comes thick and fast. However, for many pages, the momentum of the quest is lost. It's not that these pages are not entertaining. Far from it. They are filled with much humour and mystery, and make the best use of false-teeth and eclipses that I can recall in a novel! Nevertheless, the effect is a bit like expecting the crowd at a football match to be as equally interested in the half-time entertainment as they would be in the match itself.

Thankfully, we rejoin the hunt for the gold and diamonds in the final third of `King Solomon's Mines', and the wait is definitely worthwhile. The telling of the finding of the treasure is brimming with suspense, excitement and some liberal dollops of horror. Like the best moments of `Raiders Of the lost Ark', it all works brilliantly. The effect is enhanced by having Quaertermain as the narrator. At the start of the tale he made it clear that he was no fearless hero, and his responses to the unfolding predicament of the adventurers add a veneer of believability to what could have been presented as excessively far-fetched hokum.

Thus, on turning the final page, `King Solomon's Mines' emerges a terrific (if flawed by its pedestrian second act) adventure classic, worthy of its endless reprints. Haggard clearly knew that he was onto a winner as Quartermain was to return in a whole series of novels, the most famous being the first eponymous sequel. `King Solomon's Mines' may not be pure gold, but it shines brightly enough to keep lovers of boys'-own-fiction hunting for more such treasures.

Barty's Score: 8.5/10
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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 Quatermain. 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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