King Solomon's Mines

King Solomon's Mines, first published in 1885, was a best-selling novel by the Victorian adventure writer and fabulist, H. Rider Haggard. It relates a journey into the heart of Africa by a group of adventurers in search of the legendary wealth said to be concealed in the mines of the novel's title. The novel is said have been written as a result of a wager, that he could not write a novel as good as Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island.

The novel was written largely from the first person subjective perspective as a journalled account of the adventure. This goes rather against the general grain of mid and later Victorian fiction which had adopted the position of the third-person omniscient perspective favoured by influential writers such as Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins and Anthony Trollope.

The "King Solomon" of the book's title was of course the biblical king renowned both for his wisdom and for his wealth. A number of sites have been identified as being the location of the mines of Solomon, including the workings at Timna near Eilat, Israel.

A film was made of the book in 1950 which won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and an article about it may be found here. There was a remake in 1985 starring Richard Chamberlain and Sharon Stone.

The character Allan Quatermain from this (and other) novels by Haggard was placed by science fiction writer Philip José Farmer as a member of the "Wold Newton family". The character was also used by the graphic novelist Alan Moore in his series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

The book should not be confused with Barbara Vine's novel King Solomon's Carpet.




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