Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea – Jules Verne

I finally finished this Kindle book that I had started a while back but put aside for the David Drake-a-thon that I just finished writing up.

This is the least ‘light hearted’ of the Verne books I have read.  There are amusing moments, but the book as a whole is a little darker.

In the late 1860s a strange sea monster is spotted that alternately evades and damages shipping.  Finally a major expedition on the US ship Abraham Lincoln is sent to find and destroy this creature.   French Marine expert Professor Pierre Aronnax, his man Conseil, and Canadian harpoonist Ned Land accompany the expedition.  After a long search they encounter the ‘animal’ and in the conflict the three fall overboard and end up clinging to the beast, which turns out to be a vessel, the Nautilus, captained by the mysterious Captain Nemo.

Nemo takes them prisoner, and tells them they can never leave the ship to keep its secrets. For a time, the adventure of exploring the seas with Nemo makes up for the imprisonment, but as they learn more about Nemo’s one man war against the land nations, culminating in the attack and sinking of a ship they decide to escape when they can.  They get their chance when the Nautilus is sucked – or intentionally driven – into a huge whirlpool and make their escape.  Was the ship destroyed too?  The book never says.

These days, when undersea subs are an everyday thing the novelty of the voyage is reduced, and the sense of wonder the book originally had is mitigated.  Bur even so the glimpses of Nemo – genial host and captor, whale saver and whale killer, refugee and avenger are still compelling.

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5 thoughts on “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea – Jules Verne

  1. this sounds like a super book. I’m looking for new adventure books to read. there is something about reading a book from history which appears to have been forgotten. however modern day stories have taken elements from these stories.
    thankyou for sharing
    keep smiling 🙂

    • That is what is nice about the Kindle or Project Gutenberg – you can find these old stories and read them much more easily than when you had to find an old copy in a library or used book store

  2. I can’t believe that I haven’t yet read any of Jules Verne’s books! I must get this one to read. Thanks for the synopsis. I too love reading and was pleased to get 100 Old Classics for – my Nintendo DS Lite, believe it or not, so I could read “White Fang” and “Moby Dick” on the train on the way to / from work. I haven’t got a Kindle yet but am interested. Will have to investigate Project Gutenberg too, thanks for the heads up.

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