The entrepreneurs are running wild in post-WW I London, and the entire metropolitan police force is either on strike or has been struck deaf and blind. Our co-hero, fortunately, has found an absolute double to mislead the bad guys, enabling him to escape the villains' claws while #2 is put through every torture imaginable short of waterboarding.
Plus a spy or two in the opposite ranks.
I regret being unable to finish the tale, but human flesh is only so resilient.
This is rightly held to be the weakest of Austen's completed novels, but reading it a second time after the passage of many years I was struck by how much humor—irony, sarcasm, and general drollery—the story's initial half contains.
In the latter portion Jane gets into philosophy and summarization, so we can't fully enjoy the moral triumph of the heroine. Too bad, but still worth reading.
I must disagree, I fear, with all previous reviewers. This tale requires so great a suspension of disbelief as to be ridiculous.
Let's forget about the mixture of creatures from all of Earth's ages, the remarkable excess of predators to prey, the apparent range of human societies that show evolution in action, and the stupidity of the main character in allowing the vessel to accidentally reach this bizarre land.
Instead, consider the heroes' actions when shipwrecked.
A. He dives headfirst from the deck, always a dangerous way to enter unknown water.
B. A lifeboat detaches itself from the sinking vessel to leap into the air, magically emptying itself of water and landing on an even keel.
C. Hero clambers in and immediately rescues a fair maiden, but does he then: search the surrounding sea for oars, a tarpaulin to use as sail or covering, a box of hardtack or bottle of olives, even a wooden bowl with which to bail?
None of these. He spends an hour chafing her extremities, then they all (he, she and the dog) cuddle for warmth, and give no thought whatever to taking any action to save themselves, merely waiting for rescue.
It gets more unlikely from there.
A pretty good and exciting story for boys in their early teens. Probably no sophisticated enough for anyone over sixteen.