Monday, July 28, 2008

King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard

Source: Librivox | Zipped MP3
Length: 9 hr, 52 min
Reader: John Nicholson

The book: Set in British colonial South Africa, King Solomon's Mines tells of the extraordinary adventures of big game hunter Allan Quartermain. Sir Henry Curtis hires Quartermain as a guide for an expedition to find Curtis's brother, who disappeared while searching for the biblical King Solomon's fabled diamond mines. Joining them in the expedition are Curtis's friend Captain Good and Umbopa, a porter with mysterious purposes.

The action is told in an unadorned style that, along with the descriptions of Africa and its inhabitants, makes this Lost Civilization fantasy seem real. A major part of this realism is the character of Quartermain, who narrates the adventure in the first person with a sense of dry humor and a matter-of-fact tone. Quartmain is not a hero in the traditional sense - he admits to being a coward. Instead of a hero, he is someone that the reader can positively identify with: fair, practical, smart, and opposed to injustice, racism and greed. This enlightened protagonist, the fresh writing style and exciting plot make King Solomon's Mines a great read.

Rating: 9/10

The reader: Nicholson has a deep plain voice that is a perfect match for Allan Quartermain. The book is filled with difficult-to-pronounce names and words in Afrikaans and Zulu, but Nicholson says them with confidence. Whether or not he's right, I have no idea. The pace is sometimes too slow for my taste, but he does vary both the pace and volume. The recording has some background whine and a hiss on the esses.

(Entered in the Book Review Wednesday contest at Cym Lowell. Follow the link for reviews of other books by various bloggers)


Felbrigg said...

I second the 9/10 rating. This reading is excellent and the story really good.

Elizabeth said...

THANKS for the review.

..Stopping by from Cym Lowell's Book Party.

Stop by my blog for a book giveaway:


Chelsey Emmelhainz of HARPER COLLINS is graciously providing FIVE copies for five lucky winners.