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The Mysterious Island Paperback – 7 Feb 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 812 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (7 Feb 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 149546833X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1495468339
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 4.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,466,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Jules Verne (1828-1905) was a French novelist who pioneered the genre of science fiction. He maintained a large library and always kept up on scientific and technological progress. A true visionary with an extraordinary talent for writing adventure stories, his writings incorporated the latest scientific knowledge of his day and envisioned technological developments that were years ahead of their time. Verne wrote about undersea, air, and space travel long before any navigable or practical craft were invented. Verne, along with H.G. Wells, is considered the "Father of Science Fiction." Verne wrote over 50 novels and numerous short stories. Some of his most successful novels appeared as a series collectively known as Extraordinary Voyages. This series included such notable works as Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), From the Earth to the Moon (1865), Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1869), and Around the World in Eighty Days (1872). These timeless classics hold the same fascination today as they did when they were first written. Verne is one of the two most translated authors of all time. Due to the popularity of his novels, many of them have been made into feature length films. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Barty Literati on 16 May 2010
Format: Paperback

'The Mysterious Island' (1874) is one of the lesser-known works of Jules Verne, who today tends to be remembered for his three masterpieces, 'Journey To The Centre Of The Earth', '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' and 'Around The World In 80 Days'. However, the relative obscurity of 'The Mysterious Island' must not be used to assume that this is somehow a less enjoyable or less worthy novel from the master of Extraordinary Voyages (the collective name given to Verne's writings). Indeed, the many merits of the book are confirmed by the fact that Hollywood saw fit to commit numerous versions to film, perhaps the most famous being made in 1961. Another factor in the novel's favour is that it is technically the sequel to '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' and can be read as a companion piece to the more famous prequel.

The plot of 'The Mysterious Island' centres around a balloon-wreck (!), which leaves 5 escapees from The American Civil War on a seemingly-deserted Pacific island which they choose to name Lincoln Island. Over the course of the numerous years in which they inhabit the land mass, they create their own civilisation and stamp their mark upon a landscape previously untouched by man, with the growing hope that Lincoln Island will eventually form part of the American Union. However, as they endeavour to initially survive and then flourish in their new environment, the fortunes of the men appear to be being manipulated by a mysteriously beneficent and possibly supernatural force.

The story itself draws upon a range of other novels which deal with the theme of desert islands and survival.
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For those who possibly aren't aware of it, 'The Mysterious Island' is a sequel of sorts - a continuation of (or rather, a conclusion to) those adventures involving the various characters previously introduced to us through 'Captain Grant's Children' and, of course, 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea'. To many, I suspect its appeal will principally lie in the return and ultimate demise of a certain Captain Nemo...

The book charts the endeavours and exploits of a hapless band of fugitives, who - during a terrible storm - crash their stolen balloon on a remote Pacific Island, after escaping imprisonment during the American Civil War. Their early days are an arduous struggle for survival; but under the leadership of Cyrus Harding (an impossibly clever, adept, and resourceful individual - given that he was merely a captain in the Unionist cause!), they not only manage to survive but flourish - developing their very own microcosmic version of civilisation, with all of the many comforts of home - as for years, they wait for a chance of rescue. Yet all the while, something haunts them in their efforts - the suspicion of an unseen hand, benevolent, which guides and helps them through...

In other words - the characters, the setting, and the plot will appear thoroughly ridiculous to the modern reader - and that's before I even dare to mention the castaways' preternaturally gifted orang-utan companion, Jup! Some readers will no doubt conclude that its quaint but incongruous elements combine to lend the novel a period charm; I, on the other hand, consider that they contribute only to feelings of exasperation and a sense of the absurd!
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Format: Paperback
This is a great, engaging read and appealed especially to my scientific/engineering tastes.

The plot finds 5 ballooning fugitives (and 1 dog) washed up on an uninhabited Pacific island. Thankfully, the 5 castaways basically comprise the ideal desert-island-survival-team. They're all very intelligent and have complimentary skills/knowledge which, when combined with Cyrus' (The Engineer's) seemingly infinite scientific knowledge, allow them to create a very complex, and comfortable, environment for themselves by utilising the island's -suspiciously diverse- range of natural resources.

Verne was writing at a time of enormous public scientific interest and part of his intention with the book was to educate and inform, aswell as entertain (kind of like an early, French BBC). As a result, he takes time to explain the logic behind the science, even going as far as to show mathematical working for how to estimate the height of a mountain using trigonometry. I found this quite interesting but other's may find it slightly tedious. Considering today's reliance on machines\gadgets to perform these tasks, I couldn't help but remember my high-school maths and suddenly, seeing it applied in this practical, exciting manner, caused me to regret not having taken this subject more seriously. As such, this book would make fantastic reading for teenagers with even a fleeting interest in maths or science.

It's certainly not a dry science lecture disguised as a novel though. There is plenty of school boy action and adventure (pirates, boat building) and a subtle, intriguing mystery to the entire island that kept me enthralled to the very end.

As another review mentioned, this is the complete antithesis of Lord of the Flies.
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