Mention Jules Verne, and books that spring to mind are 20,000 Leagues, Around the World in 80 days, and Journey to the Center of the Earth. The Mysterious Island is one of his lesser known works, which is something of a mystery itself.
The book surpasses one's imagination and never fails to surprise. From the initial pages when Capt. Cyrus Harding and his friends decide to escape from a prison camp, the story seizes the complete attention of the reader, and unfolds at a pace and in a direction excelling Jules Verne's characteristic stories. The spirit and ingenuity of man is demonstrated in almost every page, as Cyrus and Co. find themselves marooned on a deserted island, and armed with only their wits, transform their desperate situation into a wonder world of science and technology. The reader is drawn into the adventure and finds himself trying to find solutions to the problems and obstacles that lie in plenty for the castaways, as Cyrus and his indomitable friends surmount myriad problems in their fight for survival. They are aided in their ventures by an uncanny and eerie source that remains a mystery until the very end.
This book cannot fail to fascinate and inspire awe in the mind of any reader. One begins to grasp the marvels and inventive genius behind the simple daily conveniences and devices that are normally taken for granted. The line between reality and fantasy is incredibly thin, and for sheer reading pleasure and boundless adventure, this book will never cease to please.
PS: The book has been adapted into a movie, which is one of the worst adaptations of any novel that I have ever had the misfortune of viewing. It is criminal to even mention the movie and the original work in the same breath.