Allan Quatermain, adventurer extraordinaire and all around circa 1880's he-man type dude, is the Indiana Jones for the Victorian set. I mean this guy can do it all. He is the fictional allegorical equivalent of British Colonialism. In other words, besides being seriously macho, he's kind, considerate, knowledgeable, relentless and fair. Chivalry is not dead!
King Solomon's Mines was published in 1885 and became an instant literary hit. Its publication inspired Edgar Rice Burroughs to write The Land that Time Forgot (1918) and Arthur Conan Doyle to pen The Lost World (1912). In effect, Haggard created the "Lost World" genre that would become incredibly popular and still is today.
Set in middle Africa in the 1880's and based somewhat on Haggard's experiences in South Africa as a 19 year old British civil servant, the novel is basically a fictional journey across dark, unexplored Africa in search of the Biblical King Solomon's rumored wealth.
Quatermain, an experienced hunter and explorer, is hired by Sir Henry Curtis and his trusty sidekick Captain Good to find Sir Henry's brother who has disappeared while searching for the fabled treasure. The story that follows, as told through the first person narration of Quartermain himself, is an epic trek through arid, deadly deserts, freezing caves, treacherous mountains and fierce African tribes.
As corny as it can be by today's standards, this story really is pretty good. Sometimes the first of something really is the best and that certainly holds true in this case.
If you absolutely must watch one of the many film versions of this story, skip the cheesy 1985 version starring Richard Chamberlain and Sharon Stone and go for the much better 1950 version starring Stewart Granger and Deborah Kerr.
Better yet, put this truly classic novel on your summer reading list and, after finishing it and being thoroughly enthralled, pass it on to your best friend so they can enjoy the thrills too!
Submitted by Dan@Central