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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > June 2018 > CELEBRITY Under the Microscope H Rider Haggard

CELEBRITY Under the Microscope H Rider Haggard

James McCreet considers the opening of a ‘lost world’ classic


King Solomon’s Mines

It is a curious thing1 that at my age – fiftyfive last birthday2 – I should find myself taking up a pen to try to write a history.3 I wonder what sort of a history it will be when I have finished it,4 if ever I come to the end of the trip!5 I have done a good many things in my life, which seems a long one to me,6 owing to my having begun work so young, perhaps.7 At an age when other boys are at school I was earning my living as a trader in the old Colony.8 I have been trading, hunting, fighting, or mining ever since.9 And yet it is only eight months ago that I made my pile.10 It is a big pile now that I have got it11 – I don’t yet know how big –12 but I do not think I would go through the last fifteen or sixteen months again for it;13 no, not if I knew that I should come out safe at the end, pile and all.14 But then I am a timid man, and dislike violence;15 moreover, I am almost sick of adventure.16 I wonder why I am going to write this book: it is not in my line.17 I am not a literary man,18 though very devoted to the Old Testament19 and also to the “Ingoldsby Legends.”20 Let me try to set down my reasons, just to see if I have any.21

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About Writing Magazine

In this month's issue of the UK's bestselling magazine for writers, we show you how to sell your book, with tips on how to get your book into bookshops and why, and how, you need to assemble a press pack. In the June issue, you can find out how facing up to failure as a writer can be the first step to success. Learn how to use a second person 'you' narrator in your fiction, and explore the opening of seminal adventure novel King Solomon's Mines. Our star interview is Alison Weir, discussing combining historical rigour with fiction vigour in her Six Tudor Queens series of novels. Keep up to date with the latest competitions and opportunities to get into print in the packed pages of the latest Writers News.

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