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The Mysterious Island

Jules Verne

Book Overview: 

A story of castaways, similar to Robinson Crusoe and The Swiss Family Robinson, this book details the escape from Civil War-era Richmond, Virginia, of five Northern men who dared to go aloft in a balloon in the midst of a hurricane. Deposited on a lonely island in the Pacific, they make do with Yankee ingenuity where Chance has left them nothing. Only later do they find they have a hidden benefactor: Captain Nemo, of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, who resides, alone, secretly on the island. In time, the tiny colony becomes so prosperous that it is able to rescue another castaway from an island a hundred miles away. But all their work will come to naught – their island’s volcano is about to awake!

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .h some days before the engineer had greeted on the summit of Mount Franklin.

Cyrus Harding gazed for some time at this splendid constellation, which has at its summit and at its base two stars of the first magnitude, at its left arm a star of the second, and at its right arm a star of the third magnitude.

Then, after some minutes thought—

"Herbert," he asked of the lad, "is not this the 15th of April?"

"Yes, captain," replied Herbert.

"Well, if I am not mistaken, to-morrow will be one of the four days in the year in which the real time is identical with average time; that is to say, my boy, that to-morrow, to within some seconds, the sun will pass the meridian just at midday by the clocks. If the weather is fine I think that I shall obtain the longitude of the island with an approximation of some degrees."

"Without instruments, without sextant?" asked Gideon Spilett.

"Yes," replied the en. . . Read More