DescriptionThe Mysterious Island (French: L'Île mystérieuse) is a novel by Jules Verne, published in 1874. The original edition, published by Hetzel, contains a number of illustrations by Jules Férat. The novel is a sequel to Verne's famous Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and In Search of the Castaways, though thematically it is vastly different from those books.
The book tells the adventures of five Americans on an uncharted island in the South Pacific. The story begins in the American Civil War, during the siege of Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Confederate States of America. As famine and death ravage the city, five northern prisoners of war decide to escape by the unusual means of hijacking a balloon. The five are Cyrus Smith, a railroad engineer in the Union army; his black manservant Neb (short for Nebuchadnezzar), who Verne repeatedly states is not a slave but an ex-slave who had been freed by Smith; the sailor Bonadventure Pencroff (who is addressed only by his surname, but his "Christian name" is given to their boat; in other texts, he is also known as Pencroft); his protégé Harbert Brown (sometimes called Herbert in some translations), a young boy whom Pencroff raises as his own after the death of his father (Pencroff's former captain); and the journalist Gedéon Spilett (Gideon Spilett in English versions). The company is completed by Cyrus' dog 'Top'.