“King Solomon’s Mines” is a classic work of English literature widely recognized as the first great “Lost World” novel.
Published in 1885, the book had a hard time getting into print, but was an immediate success and a record-breaking best-seller at the time.
Much of its monumental success came from aggressive and overstated marketing; it was released to claims of it being the “Most Amazing Book Ever Written.” However, its enduring appeal is due, in no small part, to its incredible novelty in both setting and style.
A Map of the Motherland
The story itself is set in Africa and revolves around the exploits of a certain hunter by the name of Allan Quatermain and an accompanying group of explorers.
After being approached by a certain aristocrat in the hopes he’d help locate his brother in unmarked territory, Quatermain turns to a map in his possession he’d never previously considered genuine. A map to the lost mines of Solomon himself.
Race Relations in Retrospect
The story carries significantly unique attitudes concerning race for the period in which it was written. Quatermain’s views towards African blacks are surprisingly respectable, with him going so far as refusing to use the word “nigger” and claiming them to be much more deserving of the term “gentlemen” than many foreign settlers on the continent.
On top of this, the story even features an interracial relationship between one of the adventurers and an African woman.
An Adventure Book for an Adventurous Time
“King Solomon’s Mines,” as a story, has been translated to film on more than 5 occasions and Quatermain, the character, was chosen as leader of a team of fictional heroes in 2003’s “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” movie.
At an exciting time in human history when explorers were discovering ancient cities and civilizations around the world, “King Solomon’s Mines” played to everyone’s imaginations with its own brand of adventure fantasy.