Genre: adventure fiction
Length: 528 pages
Setting: an island in the Pacific Ocean, 1868
Interest: I’d downloaded a couple of Verne books from the Internet (they’re available on Gutenberg.org) and it turned out this book was the first of a trilogy. So, I started with this one. Turns out, it’s also kind of a sequel to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which I was reading to Mr. Curiosity at the time.
Summary: Five Americans escape a Civil War prison camp on a hot air balloon and a storm blows them onto an uncharted island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Once there, they proceed to recreate all the amenities of life, from domesticating the animals to creating a forge. They are able to create a comfortable life for themselves and are occasionally helped out of difficulties by a mysterious presence. They rescue a castaway from a nearby island and are nearly killed by pirates. They discover their mysterious benefactor is Captain Nemo, the sole survivor of the Nautilus. A volcano on their island becomes active and destroys their island. They barely survive (and Nemo does not) and are rescued in the nick of time.
Final thoughts: Verne has a very distinctive style. Trying to read Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea at the same time was a bit too much for me. He likes to list all the species of whatever is around and give way more description of the surroundings than I’m interested in. I also found it similar to The Swiss Family Robinson in that everything they might need to survive on the island is miraculously found. I will admit, I didn’t expect Captain Nemo to show up in the story, so that was cool.
Title comes from: The castaways had a mysterious benefactor on the island that turned out to be Captain Nemo.
Reading challenges fulfilled: None, since this is a review of a book read in a previous year, although I think I’ll go back and read the next book in the series for my Classics challenge.
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