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The Underground City

Jules Verne

Book Overview: 

Covering a time span of over ten years, this novel follows the fortunes of the mining community of Aberfoyle near Stirling, Scotland. Receiving a letter from an old colleague, mining engineer James Starr sets off for the old Aberfoyle mine, thought to have been mined out ten years earlier. Starr finds mine overman Simon Ford and his family living in a cottage deep inside the mine; he is astonished to find that Ford has made a discovery of the presence of a large vein of coal. Accompanying Simon Ford are his wife, Madge, and adult son, Harry.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Simon, we shall see that!" said the engineer, to whom the announcement of a good breakfast could not be indifferent, after his long walk.

"Are you hungry, Mr. Starr?"

"Ravenously hungry. My journey has given me an appetite. I came through horrible weather."

"Ah, it is raining up there," responded Simon Ford.

"Yes, Simon, and the waters of the Forth are as rough as the sea."

"Well, Mr. Starr, here it never rains. But I needn't describe to you all the advantages, which you know as well as myself. Here we are at the cottage. That is the chief thing, and I again say you are welcome, sir."

Simon Ford, followed by Harry, ushered their guest into the dwelling. James Starr found himself in a large room lighted by numerous lamps, one hanging from the colored beams of the roof.

"The soup is ready, wife," said Ford, "and it mustn't be kept waiting any more than Mr. Starr. He is as hungry as a miner, and he. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Verne wrote some fantastic pieces of fiction, but this is just an above average adventure/love story about people living in a coal mine. It is very interesting with an eye toward how coal used to be mined, and the book is a fun read. Just not something to write home about.

Although it spends most of its time in a coal mine, this quaint little adventure story doesn't offer much depth. All of the characters are static and direct, and the main thrust of the plot is resolved almost by chance.

From a sustainability perspective, the story is rather ironic, as it glorifies th

Someone should really rewrite this book as a fairy story with no pretensions to representing real mining in 19th century Scotland. Nell, the child of the caverns, who has never seen the light of day evokes ancient stories of human children raised in underground kingdoms, and supernatural children ad

Excellent book which is too little known in comparison to other books by Verne. Well worth the read especially if you have read some of Scott's Waverley novels since Verne was very much inspired by the Wizard of the North.

La historia tiene lugar en aquel mundo subterráneo que tanto despertó la imaginación de Julio Verne, el subsuelo. Indias negras es el nombre que los británicos le daban a las minas de carbón o hulla, un elemento indispensable en plena era industrial del siglo XIX. Es allí donde Verne imagina esta mi

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