You have to keep telling yourself that this book was written a LONG time ago, since it is a pretty safe bet that something in this book will offend virtually any modern reader. I found myself shaking my head in disbelief and laughing sort of the same way I used to laugh while watching Archie Bunker--except that Archie was an anachronism even during his first run on TV, and Alan Quartermain is quite enlightened for his time. Not that different from reading Edgar Rice Burroughs, really.
IF you can get past that, and I hope that you can, this is a fantastic adventure novel. Absolutely top shelf---how did I miss this one? Full of heroic characters, dastardly villains, complex plots and schemes, hair-raising adventures, creepy settings, epic battles and something that I did not expect----humor. This book is laugh out loud funny even while telling a straight forward adventure yarn in the classic style. A style it pretty much invented, I might say, just as I think that it is no stretch to say that without Alan Quartermain there would be no Indiana Jones. In fact the whole vibe of the movie borrows quite a bit from Haggard's style.
I have already bought a ticket for the remaining books in the series.