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King Solomon's Mines | [H. Rider Haggard]

King Solomon's Mines

On board a ship bound for Natal, adventurer Allan Quatermain meets Sir Henry Curtis and Captain John Good. His new friends have set out to find Sir Henry's younger brother, who vanished while seeking King Solomon's legendary diamond mines in the African interior. By strange chance, Quatermain has a map to the mines, drawn in blood, and agrees to join the others on their perilous journey.
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Publisher's Summary

On board a ship bound for Natal, adventurer Allan Quatermain meets Sir Henry Curtis and Captain John Good. His new friends have set out to find Sir Henry's younger brother, who vanished while seeking King Solomon's legendary diamond mines in the African interior. By strange chance, Quatermain has a map to the mines, drawn in blood, and agrees to join the others on their perilous journey.

The travellers face many dangers on their quest - the baking desert heat, the hostile lost tribe they discover and the evil 'wise woman' who holds the secret of the diamond mines. King Solomon's Mines is a brilliant adventure that has gripped generations.

(P)2009 BBC Audiobooks Ltd

What Members Say

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4.1 (84 )
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4.3 (59 )
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  •  
    Jefferson 09-03-10
    Jefferson 09-03-10 Member Since 2010

    I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "John Carter and Conan's African Daddy"

    H. Rider Haggard's King Solomon's Mines (1885) is worth listening to if for no other reason than because of its seminal influence on the adventure genre, especially of the "lost world" or "planetary romance" variety wherein an intrepid hero explores an exotic hidden civilization in an inaccessible place and thereby acts as a catalyst for Big Change, ala Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard.

    Allan Quartermain, who leads the expedition to King Solomon's mines hidden among the mountains of Africa and finds much more than he expected, is an interesting narrator-protagonist: honest, middle-aged, experienced, physically unimposing, and none too brave. The story he tells is variously suspenseful, violent, humorous, horrifying, moving, and sublime. Its views of animals ("beasts" to be hunted for food or sport), of women (baby-bearers, damsels in distress, or witches ideally to be avoided), of indigenous people ("natives" not to be mated with or lived among permanently) are unpleasant to me today. But Quartermain also impressively (given his Victorian era) admires exceptional "natives" and recognizes them as being at least the equal of their white counterparts, pointedly refuses to use the n-word, poignantly depicts an inter-racial romance, and even expresses the destructive side of the involvement of white "civilization" with native cultures. And the story has neat themes about the dangerous pursuit of wealth, the transitory nature of life, the wonders of nature, and the mysteries of the past.

    The reader, Toby Stephens, does an excellent job breathing wit and life into the characters; I particularly enjoyed his Gagaoola, the wizened, wicked, possibly immortal, stick-like crone, whose raspy high-pitched merry malevolence was appealingly creepy to hear. An entertaining listen indeed.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James C Las Vegas, NV 11-06-09
    James C Las Vegas, NV 11-06-09 Member Since 2008
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    "Allen Quatermain=Sean Connery"

    I discovered this book after watching League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and learning that Sean Connery's character in the movie, Allen Quatermain, is taken from HR Haggard's books.

    This story is unlikely to disappointment fans of Indiana Jones-type adventure; the plot is well-written and only occasionally requires suspension of disbelief to get through. The narration as well is very good. Overall, a remarkable novel from a different time.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David United States 02-04-13
    David United States 02-04-13 Listener Since 2008
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    "Toby Stephens is an AMAZING narrator"
    What did you love best about King Solomon's Mines?

    This rollicking tale invented the lost world / jungle opera genre and spawned a host of imitators and hangers-on who variously copied the book’s vibe and ethos or just its specific devices (like the “white witchcraft” of the hunter’s guns or the terrifying of an ignorant native race by pretending to bring on an eclipse which luckily happened to occur just when it was needed. It’s old, colonialist, and racist (though very mildly so in comparison with most of literature of the day), but it’s a humdinger of a thrill ride. Special mention goes to the incredible narrator Toby Stephens, whose accents make it all worthwhile.


    What does Toby Stephens bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The accents! My goodness, the man's accents are AMAZING. I wish I could read books to my kids like that. His reading of Gagool actually made shivers run up and down my spine.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sam shreveport, louisiana, United States 02-07-14
    sam shreveport, louisiana, United States 02-07-14 Member Since 2008
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    "A Rip-Roaring Victorian Adventure!"

    I first learn of Allen Quartermain and his adventures in Africa via the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the comic, not the movie). This was every bit the adventure I'd been promised!

    You really get a sense of just how exciting it was back in the Victorian era with all of the lost civilizations being discovered and adventures braving the thickest of jungles. The was never a dull moment and all with something new to discover, with that posh Victorian flare I've come to adore.

    Obviously, Quartermain is the quintessential Great White Hunter, so their was a bit of big game hunting along the way; thankfully it was mostly brief and did serve to flavor the story. As for the African characters, they were present surprisingly tastefully written given time when the novel was written. Quartermain even comment that some Africans are more respectable than Europeans he has known, and never once uses derogator terms to describe them. The rest of Quartermain's party were also great characters as well. And it had a happy ending and it all worked (mostly) well for everyone.

    All in all one of the best Victorian novels I've read in a while. Discover this gem for yourself!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Willem Midrand, South Africa 01-14-14
    Willem Midrand, South Africa 01-14-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Great story, great narration but barely audible"

    I loved the story and the narrator was really great (other than butchering the pronunciation of the afrikaans words) but I really struggled with the volume of the recording. It was way too low, it became very cumbersome to constantly have to struggle to hear the narration. Other than the volume issue I can highly recommend it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lindsey Lexington, SC, United States 01-05-13
    Lindsey Lexington, SC, United States 01-05-13
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    "Not bad, but not great"

    It was an ok book. Hard to keep up with the way the story flowed. Was disappointed, the expectation of the adventure didn't come through.

    Narrator was pretty good.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gerald SPARTA, NJ, United States 02-25-12
    Gerald SPARTA, NJ, United States 02-25-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Return to my childhood"
    Where does King Solomon's Mines rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Near the top but mainly because of the nostalgia of hearing a book I first read in about 1964.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Alan because his character was expanded on more than others.


    What about Toby Stephens’s performance did you like?

    His voice caught the essence of the era.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    I ranked this book highly because of the time in which it was written. This is a great story variations of which have been written, made into movies and made into video games decades after this original. The language is charming and even made me chuckle a few times when humor was not intended. The reader has to take the era in which it was written into account and recognise that the term

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-7 of 7 results
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  • Howard
    Long Eaton, Derbyshire, United Kingdom
    10/12/10
    Overall
    "OF ITS TIME"

    Not very politically correct but is a 'ripping yarn'. More blood than a blood bank but still a good tale.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Danuta
    Shell CoveAustralia
    9/24/10
    Overall
    "An African adventure"

    Chose this audiobook as I had never read the original story. A simple adventure that is a little dated now but still worth listening to. Nicely narrated by Toby Stephens.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Peter
    Chorley, Lancashire, United Kingdom
    2/27/10
    Overall
    "King Solomon's Mines"

    Excellent listening. Brought back memories of reading the book many years ago. Gripping story that kept my interest throughout.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Miss
    Saffron Walden, United Kingdom
    1/12/14
    Overall
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    Story
    "A bit bloodthirsty for kids"

    I have read reviews of this which have said "I first read this when I was 8" and having now read it I am surprised! There are a number of graphic scenes of hunting elephants, elephants goring humans, humans killing other humans, all-out civil war, crushing etc etc. it is a blood-bath. Not for the faint hearted, but actually a very gripping romp. I couldn't wait to get back in the car to listen to the next bit! You can't say too much about the content of the book without giving away too much, as the story is actually very short and concise, my usual read is about 30 hours - this seemed too brief! Has made me want to read the rest of the Quartermain books he has written. I loved the characterisation of the 3 white male characters, very much of a different era, and typical masculine gung-ho types. Toby Stephens is a great narrator, has just the right accent for this type of book, but could do a believable African accent.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Margaret
    London, United Kingdom
    2/25/12
    Overall
    "Non PC but ......"

    I read this as a child and had never thought of the audiobook. However, I was at a loose end and bingo. I had forgotten that not only is this a "ripping adventure" but its actually very amusing, I really enjoyed the picture of Good half shaven, false teeth and no trousers, and well written. OK, non-PC in some of the words and attitudes, but if you accept it as of its time then you can sit back and enjoy. Toby Stephens does it full credit, although at one point one of the African characters does sound a little Asian to my ears, but he gets it back on track pretty quickly. All in all, if you can suspend your disbelief then you will have a good time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Alan
    FORTROSE, United Kingdom
    12/25/13
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    Story
    "Treasure indeed"
    Where does King Solomon's Mines rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    About 3rd


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Quartermain , He had real hopes aspirations and weakness


    Which character – as performed by Toby Stephens – was your favourite?

    Sir Henry Curtis but all were excellent.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I will when I get time but it will be played often as I love this kind of adventure


    Any additional comments?

    This was so well done and well read ,Toby Stephens voice was just right and I can thoroughly
    recommend the recording ,You could almost smell the pipe tobacco, hear the echo of the caves and see the massed ranks battling it out.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-6 of 6 results

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