FREE LISTENS Review: King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard

July 28, 2008
Filed under: Reviews 

Review

Free Listens Blog

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 Quatermain. Sir Henry Curtis hires Quatermain 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 Quatermain, who narrates the adventure in the first person with a sense of dry humor and a matter-of-fact tone. Quatermain 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 Quatermain. 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.

Posted by Seth

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