Monday, March 31, 2014

Island Adventures

This novel, published in 1874, is a story about 4 men, a boy, and a dog who escape from the southern forces during the Civil War. What makes it unique is that the escape was done in a gas filled balloon that was going to be used for army reconnaissance, but was grounded due to a severe storm. The balloon was hi-jacked and immediately soared high into the atmosphere and was blown to the south seas by a hurricane. 
The mix of men and their various talents makes for an interesting story of resourcefulness and survival after having been deposited on a deserted island with virtually nothing but the clothes on their backs.
They not only survived, but within a few years are thriving and do not even wish to be rescued.  But there are very mysterious things happening on the island, leading to a suspicion that there is someone else living there. But search as they might, they could find no evidence. A trip to a nearby island where they pick up a castaway, and an invasion by a pirate ship, eventually take us to the part of the story where the real danger looms before them, the awakening of an extinct volcano.  
In the end, the mystery is revealed and only by the narrowest of margins are the castaways rescued.
Jules Verne loves to write about science and this book is full of it. He was ahead of his time, to be sure.
The story is interesting but the tension is always resolved just a little too neatly, in other words, it is unbelievable. But, good writing is always a pleasure to read, and it is a classic.  
3 1/2 stars

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