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on 29 December 2010
Five men escape from imprisonment as POWs during the American Civil war by stealing a balloon designed for observation purposes. They are carried much further than expected and end up on a deserted island. Despite having nothing to work with at the start, they slowly begin to build themselves the facilities that they need. But in the background there is a disturbing thought; is the island really deserted?

This is a lengthy book, but I found that I couldn't put it down. The writing flows nicely and the descriptions are extensive without being overly long. The question would have to be raised if a group of men really could develop all of the technology from scratch as described, but with the right level of theoretical and practical education, it should be possible. The book illustrates the old adage "Necessity is the mother of invention".

This is a classic Jules Verne novel, although not one of the better known stories; this is a shame as it is a really good read. Certainly worth downloading to your Kindle.
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on 30 January 2011
This is quite a long read but also a very good one. Even though quite an old book the language and wording is easy to follow and does not feel old fashioned.

The story surrounds some POW's in the American Civil War who escape using a hot air balloon, but are then stranded on an island. The story follows them as they move from just surviving to colonizing the island. One of them is a scientist who knows how to make just about anything from the minerals, plants and other materials that they find.

All through the book strange mysterious things happen which make them wonder if they are alone on the island. Towards the end things start to take an unexpected turn (but to find out what you will have to read the book).
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VINE VOICEon 10 April 2013
This is a lesser known Jules Verne adventure I had not read before, and I feel it should be better known. It develops a sense of anticipation in the reader that grows as unexpected things happen to the American castaways on Lincoln Island, located 'somewhere near New Zealand'. Through the exercise of his scientific knowledge, their leader Cyrus Harding is able to create almost a mini-utopia for the castaways, helped by their willingness to work together and live in harmony with each other - a kind of optimistic antithesis to 'The Lord of the Flies'.

Verne being Verne, he supplies an abundance of detail on the flora, fauna, geography and climate of the island that may seem tiresome to the modern reader, but he was addressing a Victorian readership at a time when natural history was a popular subject, with new discoveries regularly made by those exploring the far corners of the earth. If it is to be faulted, it is for some inaccuracies, such as the extreme winter climate (snow on the ground for several months) with vegetation of warm temperate areas on the same latitude, e.g. New Zealand, and some improbabilities, such as jaguars and kangaroos occupying the same (desert) island.

This kindle version was a bargain. with only one or two technical/scientific terms that look as if they have been mistranscribed.
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on 10 January 2013
I found that this started extremely slowly, and probably would have given up on it if I hadn't enjoyed other work I've read by Verne so much. The castaways landed on a deserted island which provided them with an abundance of every resource that they needed. Between the five men they were furnished with every facet of human knowledge available at the time, which meant that they easily overcame every obstacle in front of them.

Halfway through the book they had established thriving farms, metalworks, an abundance of tools, explosives and an ocean going vessel. All of this was achieved with little difficulty in about eighteen months. While it was impressive to see all that could be achieved with the right knowledge and industry, at times this read more like and instruction manual than a novel.

This all changed in the second half as some genuine threats to their lives emerged and they faced a struggle for survival, while seeking to identify the mysetrious benevolent entity that had supported them throughout. It was great to read once it got going, but for me, that took far too long.
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on 11 May 2014
Featuring a plot similar to the later inspired T.V. Series "The Prisoner"? and "Lost"? The story starts with a group of American Civil War Prisoners escaping to freedom in a Observation Balloon and finding themselves stranded on the titlelature Mysterious Island.

Gripping read from one of the Great Grandfathers of Science Fiction.?
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on 21 September 2014
There are hints within this book that Verne was writing a response to "Swiss Family Robinson", in which a family land on an island surrounded by all the tools and goods they need to establish a comfortable home-from-home. Verne provides his cast with nothing - they use what they find on the island to overcome their difficulties. Their resilience is inspiring - their achievements amazing. Inevitably there is a marooned man, and a visit by pirates - and a series of mysterious events.

The book shows its age by its slow pace and verbosity. But it's a classic tale, and I - for one - am glad I stuck with it to the end.
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on 3 October 2012
I was originally put off by the length of this book, but both the author (Jules Verne) and the price (£0.00) made me give it a read feeling that I would have at least lost nothing if I did not enjoy.

The language, despite being written a long time ago, is very easy to pick up and follow. Nothing too heavy to put a casual reader off (I would not have thrown 5 stars its way if that were the case).

After reading through I can honestly say I feel bad that I had such pleasure for nothing. It is a lengthy read, but the length is justified. Every page makes the story strong and makes the reader's enjoyment all the more full.

The characters are well fleshed out and every one of them is different enough from every other to make the group truly enjoyable to read about. Jules Verne has a talent for making you deeply care about his characters, praise their victories and genuinely feel fearful of turning the page when you know a failure is coming.

I would highly recommend reading 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (another Jules Verne classic) as this does have a tie in to that title that will make far more sense if you are familiar with the aforementioned work and its characters/events.

I don't think this title got the fame it deserved, I only hope people continue to read it in the modern day. For it is a title that truly deserves a wider audience.
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on 28 April 2012
Saw the film years ago as a youngster and because I've a Kindle link I thought it would be good to read the book.
I note this etext was originally prepared by Anthony Matonak, updated by David Widger with extensive proofing by Trevor Carlson. However, I've noted passages from other versions of this novel varying slightly in textual content so I do not know how acurate a translation this is. It's also unfortunate that the paragraphing and chapter starts are rather clumsy. If there is one thing this copy needs it's the map that shows the topography of the island. Apart from these points I'm enjoying the read.
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on 4 August 2012
This adventure is like a famous five story for adults! It is 5 if you exclude the dog Top, who are marooned on an island. The dog's abilities, by the way, are a very essential asset to the group. They are lead by an engineer-come-genius Cyrus Harding, a kind of Leonardo Da Vinci (but less well known) sort of character. There is also a sailor, a journalist, a loyal servant and a young scholar. Two more additional complex and interesting characters are later added to the story and also a group of murderous pirates. It is more than a little far-fetched in terms of what the group achieve with the resources they have at their disposal. For example, installing a lift in their cave (I ask you!) when surely the ladder would have been itself an achievement in real life. If you can cope with this tendency then the reading certainly offers enjoyment. I was very pleasantly surprised by how a master author maintains the tension right to the last pages, great stuff!
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on 26 November 2013
At times I struggled with this book and nearly gave up reading it several times. To the modern reader the writing is stilted and shows little, if any, emotion. The scientific explanations of what the engineer was achieving are long winded and too complicated for an ordinary person to understand and quite honestly, unbelievable. Lots of Latin
names for flora and fauna.
However the story is simple. During the American Civil War,prisoners escape in a hot air balloon and crash land on an unknown island in the Pacific. There they set about creating a habitat, cultivating food and making life easier for themselves with the aid of their leader, engineer Cyrus Harding. What he achieves is beyond believable for a castaways.
When in dire need at times, something always mysteriously appears or occurs to come to their aid.
It was worth persevering but I must admit I did jump whole paragraphs at times.
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