King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard

A truly rousing adventure novel that established many conventions of the genre. While Haggard was no Shakespeare, like the bard he invented characters, plot twists, settings (the whole Lost World/Tribe motif), and lines that people think are clichés…but were all his own. Writers of pulps, movie serials, old time radio, men’s adventure stories, blockbuster movies, and today’s trendy graphic novels have mined (sorry) his work ever since. Since the Indiana Jones movies are treacly and Alan Moore’s use of Quatermain (and the other lit figures) in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen are warmed over and stripped of socioeconomic context, I recommend readers return to the source. In fact, it’s the realism and accuracy of the fin de siècle imperial setting that apparently drive some chronocentric millennials to Maoist-style denunciations of the novel’s deviations from the party line. So Haggard’s books appeal most to the young and the old, but not the in-between. A little scary for the very young, but slip a copy to your adolescent grandkids. Maybe they can escape, before it’s too late.

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