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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you are thinking Debra Kerr you will be shocked.
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...
Published on 3 Jun. 2006 by bernie

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars For people who hate literature
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...
Published on 24 Feb. 2010 by Sam Quixote


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you are thinking Debra Kerr you will be shocked., 3 Jun. 2006
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good old fashioned adventure story, 19 Aug. 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I speak of Africa and golden joys...", 6 Aug. 2013
By 
FictionFan (Kirkintilloch, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
When Sir Henry Curtis' brother George goes missing in Africa, Sir Henry and his friend, Captain Good, set out to find him. While they are en route to Natal, they meet up with Allan Quatermain, a local elephant hunter and adventurer, who is able to tell them that George had started out on a quest to find the fabled diamond mines of King Solomon. When Sir Henry asks if Quatermain believes in the existence of the mines, Quatermain replies that he had never paid too much heed to the legend until, some time earlier, he came into possession of a rough map showing the way there, written in blood by a man now long dead. Sir Henry begs Quatermain to go with them to seek for the mines, in the hopes of finding his brother there; and, in return for a promise of a share in any treasure they find, Quatermain agrees. While Quatermain gets together supplies and a team of bearers for the journey, he is approached by Umbopa, a native who doesn't look or act like the usual bearer but is very keen to join the expedition. And so they set off to cross the burning desert to seek their fortune in the mountains beyond...

This is a great adventure story - the greatest I've ever read and truly deserving of the term 'classic'. The story is told by Allan Quatermain in the first person. He sees Sir Henry as the hero of the story, but the reader knows that Quatermain himself is the true hero. The grizzled old hunter, with his knowledge of the ways of the natives, with his hunting skills and, above all, with the bravery which he hides beneath a cloak of modesty, is the heart of the book. But Sir Henry is a fine character too, tall, strong, handsome, intelligent - everything an Englishman of the Empire should be. Captain Good is a brave and loyal friend, but with eccentricities aplenty, allowing Rider Haggard to introduce some humour (and the tiniest touch of romance) into the story. And the mysterious Umbopa - aah! He represents all of that part of Africa we don't understand - again courageous and with a strength that becomes vital as the adventurers struggle to survive, but a man who can be frightening and whose loyalty must be earned, not bought - a man with a secret that is only slowly revealed.

The tortured journey across the desert where the only hope for survival rests on finding the waterhole marked on the ancient map; the journey over the mountains where cold and hunger take the travellers to the edge of endurance; the Kingdom of the Kukuanas, ruled over by the cruel King Twala and about to be plunged into a civil war where all must take a side - the pace never lets up as our heroes face danger after thrilling danger from both nature and man. And from woman too - I defy anyone who has read this book to forget the ancient, evil, cackling `wise woman', Gagool of the Kukuanas - the stuff of nightmares and midnight terrors. Or to forget the horrors of the caves...

Written in 1885, King Solomon's Mines was the first English adventure story to be set in Africa, at a time when much of the continent was still `undiscovered'. A small word of warning that obviously some attitudes to race in the book are reflective of the time - however, on the whole, Rider Haggard is respectful and even admiring of the 'natives' and their cultures. I first read this (many times) as a child and teenager and, on re-reading recently, enjoyed it just as much as an adult. If you've never read it, what a treat you have in store...I envy you!
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting book, must read , weird writing, 15 Jun. 1999
By A Customer
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you are thinking Debra Kerr you will be shocked., 17 Jan. 2007
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: King Solomon's Mines (Hardcover)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you are thinking Debra Kerr you will be shocked, 1 July 2013
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you are thinking Debra Kerr you will be shocked., 27 April 2010
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Great ripping yarn, 22 Nov. 2014
By 
Bacchus (Greater London - Surrey) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Suleyman's Mines, 25 Sept. 2013
By 
I found this an engaging enough read by tackling it just a few pages at a time. It starts well and ends well but the middle lags a bit with the adventurers sucked into the politics of a Zulu-like tribe dominated by a cruel leader. Rider Haggard spent a good deal of time in South Africa and met bona-fide adventurers and natives, so he writes with some veracity. I wanted to find out who Alan Quartermain was and found that he is pleasingly modest with perhaps the real hero of the story being Sir Henry Curtis. The other adventurer is the comical Captain Good who awes the natives with his false teeth, monocle and milky white legs - the unfortunate man is discovered by natives shaving off his beard and he spends most of the adventure unwillingly half-shaved to impress them. Although the natives are portrayed as mostly simple Rider Haggard is unreserved in his admiration for them.
King Solomon's Mines originated the Lost World genre and was the first to use the plot devices of the prediction of a solar eclipse and the tribe's belief that the white men were Gods. Many of the tropes which may now seem awful cliches were originated in this best-selling book. Its influence is undeniable with its success inspiring Edgar Rice Burrough's The Land That Time Forgot, Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World (Penguin Classics)and Kipling's The Man Who Would Be King and all the way down to Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Collection [DVD].
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4.0 out of 5 stars Diamonds Lost Forever?, 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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King Solomon's Mines
King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard (Mass Market Paperback - 21 Jan. 1999)
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