A Critic's Meta Review: 4/5
Five Weeks in a Balloon by Jules Verne (1828-1905). Published by planksip®
A Critic's Meta Review: 4/5
Like any true adventure novel, Verne’s depictions of a protagonist overcoming obstacles by continued perseverance is expected but enjoyable. Five Weeks in a Balloon is filled with coincidental moments where trouble is avoided as the wind catches up at just the right time, or the characters happen to look in just the right direction. These coincidences are explained by frequent references to a higher power watching out for the trio.
Although the balloon itself ultimately fails, it does succeed in returning our protagonists to friendly lands with their eventual return to England, therefore making their expedition a success.The story abruptly ends after the African trip, with only a brief synopsis of what follows.
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Originally published in 1863, Five Weeks in a Balloon, also known as Journeys and Discoveries in Africa by Three Englishmen is an adventure novel written by French author Jules Verne. It is the first novel in which he perfected the "ingredients" of his later work, skillfully mixing a plot full of adventure and twists that hold the reader's interest with passages of technical, geographic, and historic description. The novel serves to give readers a glimpse into the beginnings of the European exploration of Africa as explorers traveled all around the continent in search of its secrets.
At the time of the novel’s publication, public interest in tales of African exploration was at its height, making the book an instant hit.
Scholar and explorer Dr. Samuel Fergusson sets out to travel across the African continent with the help of a hydrogen-filled balloon. Accompanied by his servant, Joe, and his professional hunter friend, Richard “Dick” Kennedy, Fergusson’s expedition is meant to link together previous voyages of East Africa with those in the Sahara and Chad regions. The trip begins in Zanzibar on the east coast, and passes across Lake Victoria, Lake Chad, Agadez, Timbuktu, Djenné and Ségou to St Louis in modern-day Senegal on the west coast. The novel describes the unknown interior of Africa near modern-day Central African Republic as a desert, when the terrain is actually a savanna.
Following a trip from the east to west coast of Africa, a good deal of the trio’s initial exploration focuses on finding the source of the Nile. They eventually aspire to link up with other explorers and face additional adventures that include conflicts with natives and the environment.
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