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The Mysterious Island

[Île mystérieuse]

Cover image for


Author: Jules Verne
Published: 1874
Language: English
Wordcount: 193,830 / 571 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 61.7
LoC Category: PQ
Downloads: 62,545 7169

The book tells the adventures of five American prisoners of war on an uncharted island in the South Pacific. Begining in the American Civil War, as famine and death ravage the city of Richmond, Virginia, five northern POWs decide to escape in a rather unusual way by hijacking a balloon! This is only the beginning of their adventures...

Show Excerpt

same day another important personage fell into the hands of the Southerners. This was no other than Gideon Spilen, a reporter for the New York Herald, who had been ordered to follow the changes of the war in the midst of the Northern armies.

Gideon Spilett was one of that race of indomitable English or American chroniclers, like Stanley and others, who stop at nothing to obtain exact information, and transmit it to their journal in the shortest possible time. The newspapers of the Union, such as the New York Herald, are genuine powers, and their reporters are men to be reckoned with. Gideon Spilett ranked among the first of those reporters: a man of great merit, energetic, prompt and ready for anything, full of ideas, having traveled over the whole world, soldier and artist, enthusiastic in council, resolute in action, caring neither for trouble, fatigue, nor danger, when in pursuit of information, for himself first, and then for his journal, a perfect treasury of knowledge on all sorts of curious subj

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 4.8 from 10 reviews: *****

The The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne is a true classic. I remember reading it as a teenager and the fascinating story captivated me. With some resemblance to the popular TV show "Lost", this 100 year-old story is intriguing and well-worth a read!


Henry Ratliff's excellent review is more interesting than the book.

Henry L. ratliff

(1874) Adventure (Island castaways)

R: * * * * *

Plot bullets

  • Part 1 Dropped from the clouds

    o Five Northerners, are held captive by Southerners, during the American Civil War.

    o The five seize an observation balloon to make their escape, along with Harding's dog, during a storm.
    o The balloon is whisked away by the storm, only to drop them in the sea near an island in the Pacific Ocean.

    o Unlike the castaways in Wyss's 'The Swiss Family Robinson' who had the stores of
    a wrecked ship with which to work, these men have almost
    nothing to work with or live on, since they threw overboard, almost everything to get
    extra distance out of the balloon.

    o Captain Cyrus Harding, his manservant Neb, Gideon Spilett a journalist and
    Bonadventure Pencroff with his adopted son, Herbert Brown. try to make the
    island a home.

    o This strange uncharted volcanic island seems to have a wide variety of
    plants and animals and only needs hard work and inventiveness, to make it

  • Part 2 'Abandoned', is published in a book by the same name,
    as the complete story was originally serialized.

    o The men progress under Harding's leadership and engineering skills.

    o They do however, begin to wonder if some additional hand
    is in work on their behalf.

    o Ayrton, a character introduced in Vern's 'In Search of the Castaways',
    who was imprisoned on another island, as punishment for the be trail of
    the Glenarvan party, who were in search of Captain Grant and his fellow
    castaways, is reintroduced.

  • Part 3, 'The Secret of the Island ', is published in a book by the same name,
    as the complete story was originally serialized.
    [o Captain Nemo of the Nautilus (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea), appears
    as that 'helping hand' that has mysteriously save their lives many times.

    o All three of the linked stories 'In Search of the Castaways',
    'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea' and 'The Mysterious Island' come to

    o The true identity of Captain Nemo and his life story is revealed.

  • The everyday dangers of live on a volcanic island are added to by pirates and the island itself. Men are made or broken under such conditions as prevail on 'The Mysterious Island'.

The preferred reading order would be, 'In Search of the Castaways',
'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea' and ''The Mysterious Island',
although the author offers a synopsis of the previous events of each story for continuity.

All three stories were made into movies by Walt Disney.

S. Dutta

One of the best books by Jules Verne. I read it during my school days and I got hooked to scientific adventure. The story, the technologies described and scientific spirit, the strong anti-imperialist tone, the adventure spirit makes it a must read for all young men & women. In fact some of this tones viz free scientific spirit, doing unusual without caring for social criticism is a recurring theme of Jules Verne


This is nice and well written book with mystery and action.

Bob Reed

This is a great book. Its an adventure story set in a fantastic environment. The mystery of Cpt. Nemo is cleverly woven in the plot. The castaways working together to make life bearable on the island, is an inspiration. An enjoyable read. The unique American drive to overcome in this book, reminds us of the explorer grit we may have lost.


Ash, the books start with the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, then In Search of the Castaways, and finally with this book. I really love this, and very educational too. They construct a battery and telegraph, and use chemical formulas to make and use powerful liquids from raw materials! It tells you how these things work, and how they made it. This is a truly wonderful work. Jules Verne is a very scientific
man, and is known to travel much more than people of his time. Enjoy Jules Verne, and The Mysterious Island!

R Stephan

Much better than the series they showed in Germany at the end of the seventies. This should be on the bookshelf for teens as the language is clean and simple, and the subject important.

Atul Chitnis

This book was one of the most influential ones in my childhood. The practical approach by the people on the island, exemplified in the "watchglass-clay-seawater" approach to making fire, the descriptions, the no-nonsense way situations are dealt with - they all contributed to my desire to become an engineer later in my life. The fact that it is a sequel to "20,000 Leagues under the Sea" is a bonus.

This is a book I urge *everyone* to read. To this day, I always carry a copy of it on my PDA, and give a copy to anyone who shows interest.

Aaron Ash

I must show my ignorance and say that I did not relize at all that this was a sequel to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I found the story well told and very timely in light of such modern mysteries as "Lost."



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