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Reviews by Henry L. Raltiff

In Search of the Castaways

by Jules Verne

(1867) Adventure (Sea / Land Quest)

R: * * * * *

Plot bullets

  • Three versions of the same message , each written in a different language, is found in a bottle. It is a plea for help from Captain Grant and two sailors who have been castaway after the wreck of their ship, The Britannia.

  • Time and water have taken their toll on the messages, and only a sentence, here and there, can be deciphered from the total of the three.

  • It is the piecing together of this scattered information, with leads Lord and Lady Glenarvan, Captain Grants daughter and son, geographer Jacques Paganel (an unexpected passenger, who saves the day as often as he puts it in jeopardy), and the crew of The Duncan, on an around the world sea and land voyage to find the castaways

  • The certain information,, that Captain Grant and two sailors from the ship Britannia are stranded somewhere on the 37th degree of latitude is not much, with which to work. That latitude includes several islands, Patagonia in South America, Australia and New Zealand. The uncertain information, leads to several misinterpretations of the messages and prolongs the search.

  • The dangers of sailing the seas and treks across three land masses , become the least of their worries. On the western coast of Australia, they find a man named Ayrton, who says he was on The Britannia, and offers to help. Unknown to the searchers, he is the notorious leader of a gang of escaped criminals, and wants The Duncan to begin privateering.

  • Ayrton's treachery is found out and his punishment, at the conclusion of the story, is revisited in part two of Vern's three part story, 'The Mysterious Island'.

  • The Glenarvan's and their ship 'The Duncan' again appear in part three of Vern's story 'The Mysterious Island'.

  • Adventure and danger await the children of Captain Grant and those that go 'In Search of The Castaways'

Republished in 1876 as 'A Voyage Around the World'.

There is a 1962 Walt Disney movie version.

Suggested reading order for the following Verne stories:
In search of the Castaways, '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' and The Mysterious Island.
The stories can be read independently as the author provides a synopsis of previous events necessary to the understanding of each story.

Themes begun in 'In Search of the Castaways' and '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' culminates in 'The Mysterious Island', after introducing an initial theme to stitch all three stories together..

Reviewed on 2014.06.16

The Best Ghost Stories

by Various Authors

(1919)Ghost / Horror Stories

R: *****

Plot bullets

  • The Apparition of Mrs. Veal - Daniel De Foe

    o A conversation with the dead, that did not appear to be so.

  • Canon Alberic\'s Scrap-Book - Montague Rhodes James

    o An ancient book with sinister pages and pictures.

    o One man must have it for his collection.

    o What else will he get?

  • The Haunted and the Haunters - Edward Bulwer-Lytton

    o An evil house with a curse on those who dwell in it.

    o Secret rooms and mystic relics.

  • The Silent Woman - Leopold Kompert

    o A woman pays penance, one of silence, for a tragic mistake.

  • Banshees

    o Some notable banshee tales.

  • The Man Who Went Too Far - E.F. Benson

    o A man finds how to really enjoy life.

    o He becomes young again.

    o He hears the music. Will it be his death.

  • The Woman\'s Ghost Story - Algernon Blackwood

    o A woman tells her ghost story.

    o A man investigates a haunted house.

    o A ghost asks him for understanding and sympathy.

  • The Phantom Rickshaw - Rudyard Kipling

    o A man\'s former lover dies.

    o He had forsaken her for another before that parting.

    o The former lover\'s ghost rides the streets of India in a ghostly Rigshaw,

    o What does she want?

  • The Rival Ghosts - Brander Matthews
    By Brander Matthews

    o A man of Scotish ancestiry lives in a house in America.

    o His house is haunted.

    o He inherits his Scotish family ghost and brings it to America.

    o Two rival ghosts cannot live in the same house.

    o Or, can they.

  • The Damned Thing - Ambrose Bierce

    o A man is stalked by what he calls \'the Damn Thing\'.

    o A frend wants to help.

    o There is no help.

  • The Interval - Vincent O\'Sullivan

    o A woman wants contact with her dead husband.

    o Clear your mind and you will see.

    o Life is an interval.

  • Dey Ain\'t No Ghosts - Ellis Parker Butler

    o A small boy believes in ghost.

    o But, \'there ain\'t no ghost\'.

    o They even told him so.

  • Some Real American Ghosts

    o Several ghost stories from the American Press.

Reviewed on 2013.10.13

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