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King Solomon's Mines

From Academic Kids

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 led by Allan Quatermain 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. (Not to mention numerous other fictional locations.)

A film was made of the book in 1950, which was nominated for three Academy Awards, winning two; see King Solomon's Mines (movie) for details. There was another adaptation in 1985 starring Richard Chamberlain and Sharon Stone.

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

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