Allan Quatermain and two British gentlemen venture into the wilds of Africa with a dual purpose - to find Sir Henry's lost brother and to discover the fabled diamond mines of King Solomon. Along the way, they nearly starve to death, nearly get gored by an elephant, nearly get killed at the hands of the natives, and nearly die while trapped underground. In case you can't tell, it's a rather adventurous story.
It was this edge-of-your-seat plot that kept me going. H. Rider Haggard did know how to write a good story. I have to admit that I almost stopped reading at the elephant hunt (shudder) and kind of skimmed the war chapters. But this book really does have everything, and I would imagine that a boy would thrill to it ever-so-much-more than I did. Many readers obviously have enjoyed Allan Quatermain, since Haggard went on to write fourteen more books about him.
It's not politically correct by today's standards, but it was far ahead of its time in recognizing the individuality and rights of every race. I enjoyed the Biblical connection, because I somehow never realized from the title that King Solomon meant the King Solomon. Is it that unrealistic that he had diamond mines in Africa? After all, his wealth had to come from somewhere.
Despite the hunting and the war (again, shudder), King Solomon's Mines really did have a good message about what and who are important in life. This message, and the adventures that taught it to Quatermain and his friends, are what make this story worth reading.