by Jules Verne
"The year is 1866 and the Pacific Ocean is being terrorized by a deadly sea monster. The U.S. government dispatches marine-life specialist Pierre Aronnax to investigate aboard the warship Abraham Lincoln. When the ship is sunk by the mysterious creature, he and two other survivors discover that the monster is in fact a marvelous submarine -- the Nautilus -- commanded by the brilliant but bitter Captain Nemo. Nemo refuses to let his guests return to land, but instead taking them on a series of fantastic adventures in which they encounter underwater forests, giant clams, monster storms, huge squid, treacherous polar ice and -- most spectacular of all -- the magnificent lost city of Atlantis!" (From the back of the Barnes & Noble Classics edition.)
So, Captain Nemo and I finally meet! In addition to discovering that Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is indeed the thrilling adventure that it is always made out to be, I learned that "twenty thousand leagues" is the distance that is traveled in the Nautilus during the story, not a depth it explores. I also found out this is the second book in a trilogy by Jules Verne which begins with In Search of the Castaways and ends with The Mysterious Island. I was going to reflect on the myriad questions I had once I finished this book, such as, "Who is Captain Nemo anyway and where did he come from?" and "What's up with all his antisocial behavior?", because the answers are not at all clear by the end, but apparently some of this is addressed in the other books. I'll have to get to them at some point and see if I can fill in some blanks.
I will have to say, though, that the mysterious escape from the maelstrom bugged me. One minute the Nautilus and all on board are being sucked into the void, the next, Professor Arronax wakes up in a fishing shack along with his two cohorts, how he got there and the fate of Capt. Nemo and company, both unknown. I bought into all the craziness up to that point. If this novel had been written recently, I'd call that a cheap way out. But it's Jules Verne and there's another book after this, so I'll let it go. :-)
NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)
Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!