A few of us are reading KING SOLOMON'S MINES for the first time. We're taking it slow and just starting Chapter V: Our March Into The Desert.
I can see why this was such a hit in 1885 with the exploration of Africa, exotic animals, and mankind's never-ending thirst for tales of untapped riches. But what jumps out as me is how this plot has been mimicked so many times since. It starts with a back story of other adventurers lost or missing, a reluctant hero, and a trail laced with hidden dangers. Originality points (remarkable after 126 years) go to a fifty-year-old protagonist and no busty bimbo in tow. As a matter of fact, one of Quatermain's sidekicks has a glass eye, false teeth, and is a bad shot. The story is taking longer to build than say a RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK or Doc Savage adventure but it's far from boring.
The above illustration of Allan Quatermain is by Thure de Thulstrup from "Maiwa's Revenge" (1888). (Source: Wikipedia)