by Kevin J. Anderson
Pocket Books, January, 2002.
Hardcover, 357 pages.
Bestselling French author Jules Verne captivated millions of readers with his fantastic stories such as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Journey to the Center of the Earth. Now Kevin Anderson presents us with a fictional biography of Verne. In this well-imagined tale, the young Verne had two best friends: Andre Nemo and the beautiful Caroline Arronax, the daughter of a wealthy merchant in Nantes. Andre and Jules stow away on a ship bound for the high seas, but Jules' stuffy lawyer father catches Jules and forces him to come home in total disgrace. Nemo goes on to have all the adventures, battling pirates, fighting sea monsters, being shipwrecked, ballooning across Africa etc. Jules eventually turns these real life tales of his friend into his popular novels. Both Jules and Nemo are madly in love with Caroline, who has gone on to become a wealthy and independent shipping executive, which causes an immense scandal in the chauvanistic Paris of the 1800s.
Anderson has created an immensely enjoyable adventure, using the conceit of the two friends -- one bold and adventurous and one content to imagine wild adventures -- who are both in love with the same woman. Verne's trials and tribulations as a young writer trying to get published, while attempting to live up to his father's dreams of him being a lawyer in Nantes are quite moving. Nemo himself is a brooding and enigmatic hero who, as a result of his suffering at the hands of various despots, eventually declares war on war itself. Anderson writes in a style reminiscent of the real Jules Verne, an added bonus which will take many readers back to their youth when they could while away the hours reading Verne's fantastic adventure stories.
Captain Nemo is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the March, 2002 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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