King Solomon's Mines was written by Haggard in conscious rivalry with Stevenson's Treasure Island. It was intended, in the author's own words, to be "a book for boys". Published in 1886, Cassell's the publishers drew on the enthusiasm of early readers' reports and launched it with hype only repeated in the latter half of the twentieth century. On vast posters and in narrow type were emblazoned the words "KING SOLOMON'S MINES - THE MOST AMAZING BOOK EVER WRITTEN". Put up in the dark, people leaving for work could not escape the message in the morning and the book subsequently became a phenomenal success (see Higgins' book Rider Haggard for more details on that advertising coup). Improbable and therefore fable-like, the story tells of English travellers who penetrate a remote African country, the site of a vanished empire with predictably exciting consequences.