King Solomon’s Mines Book Review

Don Maitz cover for King Solomon’s Mines

I can see why this book isn’t on the good side of so many people. In order to enjoy any work of classic fiction, one should put aside his views, do without his moral compass and see the work as a product of its time.

The book is a narration of Allan Quatermain’s adventures with his companions Sir Henry, Mr. Good and the mysterious Umboba into the Kukuanaland. I’m not really a fan of revealing too much about a story so explore their adventures for yourself if you are prepared to take my warning from the first paragraph.

Sure, there is a lot of racism and animal slaughter in these pages. The characters have grayish personalities with some qualities and some flaws that would give anyone feelings of revulsion. The narrator of the story, Allan Quatermain, refers to himself as a coward and unable warrior in some instances and that appealed to me because I had up to my head with all those flawless characters littering fiction. He then points to how the savagery of native Africans resembles that of Europeans that made me think that this book is far from advocating imperialist and colonial agendas:

“Cruel Africans are compared to cruel Europeans”

and in another instance, he compares a certain African cruel king to a despicable character from Charles Dickens‘s A Tale of Two Cities:

“One,’ counted Twala the king, just like a black Madame DeFarge”

Although, the book isn’t without its flaws and the events when the characters senselessly murdered animals didn’t please me in the least bit.
But, on the whole, the book was enjoyable. It had that sense of adventure that fills you with awe and makes you clench your teeth and flip the pages rapidly to see what happens next.