I knew immediately before I read this book that it would be another masterpiece classic from Jules Verne. Even the title made me anxious to read this “mysterious” book about an island. The plot was solid, and the characters are engaged in lots of action, so this book is fast-paced and never dull. The plot twist is something that I didn’t see coming, and the ending was climactic. This novel is highly mysterious, and will keep you guessing until the very end.
Cyrus, Pencroft, Herbert, Neb and Gideon, and a dog named Top make a daring escape from a Civil War prison in a balloon, but the balloon is blown way off course to an uncharted island. These men are worthy and strong; Captain Cyrus Harding is an inspiring leader, Pencroft an easy-going but hardworking sailor. Neb is very faithful to his friends and does his best to be useful. Gideon Spilett is very observant, resourceful and loving, and Herbert is a young, knowledgeable naturalist. These men and their dog Top conquer the island’s challenges and make the very best of their isolation on the small island. They are not prepared for the surprises the island has in store for them–and the ultimate surprise is when the group encounter danger, and miraculously receive help. Soon, the band of companions are out to hunt for the secret of the mysterious island, and they make a shocking conclusion. One so the shocking that their world on the island will change forever.
The novel is a crossover sequel to Verne’s famous Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and In Search of the Castaways, though its themes are vastly different from those books. This was a riveting and inspiring novel. The way the characters make the best of their difficult situation is very telling of the kind of people they are. This is one of Jules Verne’s greatest works, and I encourage all readers to at least give this book a chance, it’s a delightful and unforgettable classic.