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Publisher's Summary

Exclusively from Audible
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 an exciting adventure that has gripped generations.
It is the first English story set in Africa and is considered to be the origin of the Lost World literary genre that inspired others such as Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World, Rudyard Kipling's The Man Who Would Be King and HP Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness.
Haggard wrote the novel as a result of a five-shilling wager with his brother to see whether he could write a novel half as good as Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island (1883). The novel ended up becoming the best seller of 1885.
Narrator Biography
Toby Stephens is an award winning actor who has an extensive array of credits over stage, film, television and audiobooks. He narrated Ian Fleming's Bond, From Russia with Love, along with Jeffery Deaver's Carte Blanche: A James Bond Novel. Throughout his stage appearances he has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company appearing in a number of their productions; Theatre Royal Haymarket, The Almeida, The Donmar Warehouse and The Old Vic.
Toby Stephens film credits include the James Bond film, Die Another Day where he plays the villain Gustav Graves, All Things To All Men, Believe, The Journey and the Oscar-nominated film 13 Hours. He is well known for his role of Captain Flint in the Starz series Black Sails, other notable television credits include, And Then There Were None, the role of Edward Fairfax Rochester in a BBC adaptation of Jane Eyre, Walking The Dead, Robin Hood and Wired. In 2018 he will appear as John Robinson in the Netflix remake of the 1965 TV Series, Lost In Space.
©1951 H. Rider Haggard (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Jefferson on 09-03-10

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.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By James C on 11-06-09

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.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Dr Caterpillar on 04-19-15

Dated but still influential

What made the experience of listening to King Solomon's Mines the most enjoyable?

Toby Stephens' reading. I tried reading this book in my teens (in the 1980s) but ground to a halt through boredom. I tried again in 2013 but was suffering from depression and couldn't finish any book. I nearly gave up on the audio last week, but persisted, thanks to Stephens' enthusiasm, diversity of voices for the characters, and the fact that it does get interesting again about halfway through.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Haggard's respect for other cultures. Don't get me wrong, he is a product of his time, and there are some "let's laugh at the gullible [black people]" moments. By way of example, the hoary old chestnut of the convenient eclipse gets a look in here (forgivable as it has been used this way in real life). Let's hope a few black astronomers get to laugh at Haggard for thinking the darkness lasts a full hour, or for thinking that there will be moonlight on the night after a total solar eclipse. The book also repeats an unquestioned maxim that black and white couples cannot marry.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The exploration of the actual mines. Anyone who has played Tomb Raider is going to feel at home! But it's more the journey than particular scenes.
There are a number of scenes which were probably much better received in 1885 than in 2015, notably the half-shaven Good scene (which was apparently blatant plagiarism).

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

No. As I say, I had to force myself to continue. A fairly early scene, in which our heroes massacre a herd of elephants, is not great for character identification.

Any additional comments?

If you're interested in the Lost World genre, it's good to get this one under your belt, as it was the first.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Danuta on 09-24-10

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.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 07-07-17

Who wouldn't want Captain Flint to read to them?!

Toby Stephens as a narrator is so versatile and brings so much depth to each of the characters. A very enjoyable "read".

Also it's Captain Flint from Black Sails reading to me on my drive home...come on..It's the greatest.

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