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In Search of the Castaways: The Children of Captain Grant (Forgotten Books) [Paperback]

Jules Gabriel Verne
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 10.27 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

15 Oct 2008
In Search of the Castaways (French: Les Enfants du capitaine Grant, lit. The Children of Captain Grant) is a novel by the French writer Jules Verne, published in 1867-1868. The original edition, by Hetzel, contains a number of illustrations by Edouard Riou. In 1876 it was republished by George Routledge & Sons as a three volume set titled "A Voyage Round The World". The three volumes were subtitled "South America", "Australia", and "New Zealand".

The book tells the story of the quest for Captain Grant of the Britannia. After finding a bottle cast into the ocean by the captain himself after the Britannia is shipwrecked, Lord and Lady Glenarvan of Scotland contact Mary and Robert, the young daughter and son of Captain Grant, through an announcement in a newspaper. Moved by the children's condition, Lord and Lady Glenarvan decide to launch a rescue expedition. The main difficulty is that the coordinates of the wreckage are mostly erased, and only the latitude (37 degrees) is known; thus, the expedition would have to circum-navigate the 37th parallel. Remaining clues consist of a few words in three languages. They are re-interpreted several times throughout the novel to make various destinations seem likely. (Quote from wikipedia.org)

About the Author

Jules Gabriel Verne (February 8, 1828 - March 24, 1905) was a French author who pioneered the science-fiction genre. He is best known for novels such as Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea (1870), and Around the World in Eighty Days (1873). Verne wrote about space, air, and underwater travel before air travel and practical submarines were invented, and before practical means of space travel had been devised. He is the third most translated author in the world, according to Index Tran

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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Forgotten Books (15 Oct 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1606800086
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606800089
  • Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 15.2 x 4.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,240,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jules Verne was born in Nantes in 1828, the eldest of five children
of a prosperous family claiming French, Breton, and Scottish
ancestry. His early years were happy apart from an unfulfilled
passion for his cousin Caroline. Literature always attracted him
and while taking a law degree in Paris he wrote a number of plays.
His first book, about a journey to Scotland, was not published
during his lifetime. However, in 1862, Five Weeks in a Balloon was
accepted by the publisher Hetzel, becoming an immediate success.
It was followed by Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Twenty
Thousand Leagues under the Seas, Around the World in Eighty Days,
and sixty other novels, covering the whole world (and below
and beyond). Verne himself travelled over three continents, before
suddenly selling his yacht in 1886. Eight of the books appeared after
his death in 1905--although they were in fact written partly by his
son, Michel.

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3.0 out of 5 stars Hunting High & Low 22 Oct 2011
Format:Paperback
A REVIEW OF `AMONG THE CANNIBALS' / `IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS' BY JULES VERNE

`Among The Cannibals' (first published in 1867-68) is an interesting but flawed entry in Jules Verne's `Extraordinary Voyages' novels. Coming after the outstanding `Journey To The Centre Of The Earth' (1864), but before the equally brilliant `Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea' (1870) and `Around The World In Eighty Days (1873), it captures certain elements of these more famous stories, without matching their creativity and lasting impact on the reader.

The tale begins with great promise, when a Scottish Lord, Glenarvan, falls into receipt of a message in a bottle from a shipwrecked compatriot, Captain Grant. The message within is incomplete, with the only truly clear feature of the castaways' destination being somewhere on the 37th parallel. Locating Grant's two children, Glenarvan and a group of fellow travellers head off to locate Grant aboard the vessel, The `Duncan'. As a set-up for a tale of adventure and exploration, this is seemingly first-rate material. However, the incomplete and cryptic nature of Grant's message creates two problems for the full engagement of the reader's interest. Firstly, given the vagueness of the location, this is clearly going to be very much a wild goose chase and the plausibility of finding the lost men is highly questionable. Secondly, and more jarring, is the fact that we do not know what condition the castaways are in. Are they in danger? Is there a time limit upon a possible rescue? With neither question answered until the novel's conclusion, that vital element of peril is missing. Imagine the climax of the film `Goldfinger' without the ticking bomb's countdown, and you get the idea of the elusive, but vital, ingredient.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adventure 23 May 2014
By Vincent Lauria - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Just another great adventure story by the master Jules Verne. A must have to complete the 20,000 Leagues under the sea trilogy.
Remember it's an adventure story, relax enjoy the book and get lost in the ADVENTURE!!

V.Lauria
Long Island,NY
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice book 19 Sep 2010
By Jeanna - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read the french version when I was and adolescent, it made me travel over the sea and around the world. The french title "Les Eenfants du Capitain Grant" had nothing to do with its English translation. It took me time to find it and I finally bought this one for my children. My son is 10 years old son is already reading this book and he loves it.
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten Books -- In Search of the Castaways 11 Jun 2009
By P. Watson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Forgotten Books edition of the Jules Verne classic, In Search of the Castaways. Easy to read, good version of the classic.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Long, Tiresome Journey 4 May 2012
By E. David Swan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
`In Search of the Castaways' begins with the classic message in a bottle released into the ocean several years previous by a Captain Grant. Although badly damaged by the elements enough of the message is decoded by the wealthy Lord Glenarvan with his wife and friends to theoretically determine the approximate location where the bottle was released. Without success they implore the British government to send a rescue mission. Having failed in that endeavor they take it upon themselves, with the accompaniment of Grants two young children, to find and rescue Captain Grant.

In 1962 Disney created an adaptation of the story which seems appropriate given that this is the most gosh darn wholesome book I've ever read. Jules Verne has been called a visionary and in this case it seems like he accurately foresaw the coming of Disney Studio's and decided to write the perfect Disney screenplay. This is the kind of vapid, sacchariny sweetness Disney built its empire on. Everyone in the story is just as brave and self sacrificing as one could be and quite frankly it makes the story somewhat boring. I never really cared about the people because they didn't behave like people. They were all just caricatures of the Brit with the stiff upper lip. I could never find myself caring because I never felt any connection to the characters.

My biggest issue is the same problem I had with Journey to the Center of the Earth. A lot of parts are just plain ridiculous. At one point in their search for Grant the group is faced with a choice of either scaling the Andes or going around the prodigious obstacle and losing three days. Even the guides refuse to climb the famous mountain range and there is no indication that Glenarvan and crew prepared for such an undertaking. Despite the fact that Grant has been lost for years and three days seems a tremendous trifle they choose the difficult path. Climbing the Andes takes them up 11,000 feet in subzero weather. Ironically I read this book while in Breckenridge, CO at just about the same altitude and I can assure you that they would have been beaten to a pulp by exhaustion and would have soon perished from the cold. After reaching the summit the mountain is struck by an earthquake and the ground they are on dislodges and slides all the way to the base ala a Saturday morning cartoon. In the process young Robert manages to get snatched up by Condor and lofted 300 ft in the air. Now an Andean Condor is one of the world's most massive flying birds but a weight that generally tops out at 33 pounds the chances of one hoisting a 12 year old boy is zero. When the bird is shot through the head rather than dropping the boy or plummet like a rock his wings billow out causing him to act as a gentle parachute.

I know people will argue that this is a fictional book and not meant to be taken so seriously but Verne practically writes the book like a travelogue of South America and Australia and when I see such goofiness I have to question everything I'm reading in which case what's the point. If Verne is going to fill the book with information about South America and Australia's flora and fauna at least get it right. The other huge issue I have is just the ludicrousness of the entire journey. They are consistently put into mortal peril in their quest to rescue a man they've never met. Even the children come close to coming to a horrific end multiple times. At what point is the quest not worth the effort.

** SPOILER **
Here is the final killer. After nearly 500 tiresome, tedious pages rather than find Captain Grant he simply walks up to the ship. Yeah, they just stumble upon him out of pure dumb luck. They came up with three different translations for the message in a bottle and each one was wrong. I guess you can argue that the message put them in the approximate vicinity but it's a really dud ending for such a long book. This is the longest and least interesting book by Verne I've read. I suggest taking a pass.
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