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King Solomon's Mines: 07/08/08

There have been at least five straight forward film adaptations of H. Rider Haggard's novel King Solomon's Mines. I think my parents have seen three of them, the 1937 version being their favorite. The closest I've come to having seen a film adaptation is the parody version in The Road to Zanzibar (1941).

So although I always associate King Solomon's Mines with lengthy discussions between my parents, somehow the writer behind the story never came up. In fact, I first heard about H. Rider Haggard as a literary reference in the Rumpole series of books by John Mortimer. He refers to his wife as "She Who Must be Obeyed" which is from the novel She (1887). It's only in the last couple of years that I've started reading any of Haggard's books.

King's Solomon's Mines is one of Haggard's earliest novels. He apparently wrote it for a £1 wager against his brother. In it's haphazard changes of tone and the gaping plot holes, it does remind me of a modern-day nanowrimo.

That being said, I rather enjoyed the book except for the middle bit where Allan Quatermain and his companions help with the overthrow of a despot king. Here the book suffers from the same awful attempts at formal sounding dialogue. Anytime anyone of vaguely noble birth wanders onto the page of a Haggard book, the dialogue goes to crap. I basically had to skim this section to save myself from flinging the book across the room.

Fortunately though once Quatermain gets back on track of looting the mine and possibly finding his companion's brother the book recovers from its serious case of "thees and thous" and finishes with the same adventurous flare that it began with.

Comments (6)

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Comment #1: Thursday, July 10, 2008 at 10:46:21

Heather J.

Thanks for the link. I know what you mean about the formal language, but since this was my first Haggard novel I didn't realize it was a trend of his. The language of that section was a bit tiresome to say the least! "

Comment #2: Thursday, July 10, 2008 at 20:32:25


You're welcome. Formal language or not, I do plan to keep plugging away at his books. He was such a huge influence on modern genre fiction that I'd like to experience his books first hand."

Comment #3: Saturday, July 12, 2008 at 11:51:58

Carrie, Reading to Know

I have this one sitting on my shelf to be read. I have already devoured Rumpole. Loved it! But missed this reference. Hmmm....

Thanks for your review!"

Comment #4: Saturday, July 12, 2008 at 13:49:10


Rumpole's nickname for his wife comes from Haggard's novel "She." I think in the Rumpole TV series he also mentions being a fan of Haggard's books."

Comment #5: Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 03:05:59


Doesn't sound so hot.

Comment #6: Monday, October 22, 2012 at 11:13:15


In his day, Haggard was an ingredibly popular author. His books sold like hotcakes. He continues to be an inspiration for fantasy / adventure movies. That said, I'm not a fan. I've tried but his adventures don't keep my attention like Verne or Kipling do.

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