20,000 Leagues under the Sea is a sci-fi book written by Jules Verne. It tells of how three men, Pierre Arronax (professor of natural history in a university in Paris), his servant Conseil (a negro of great self-control), and Ned Land (greatest Canadian harpooner of his time), are stranded in the sea and taken aboard a submarine ship, the Nautilus, that resembles a whale, which is commanded by the mysterious Captain Nemo*. There they stay for ten months, prisoners, until they manage to escape in the dangerous maelstrom off the coast of Sweden.
One of my favorite parts is when M. Arronax, Conseil, Ned Land and Captain Nemo travel underwater to search for pearls. They find a huge bed with thousands of oysters and pearls. Captain Nemo shows them a giant oyster at least five feet in width, which has a huge pearl inside it.
When they come back out of the underwater cave where it is, they watch a native pearl-fisher try to collect a share of the underground treasure. He seems to be doing well, until a giant shark attacks him! The shark knocks the man unconscious, but Captain Nemo moves in before it can make another move. With the help of Ned Land, he kills it. Thus they save the man’s life.
My other favorite part is when they set out for the Antarctic Pole. After traveling for days through, around and under icebergs and ice-shelves, they come to the Pole. There they see numerous kinds of seals and birds. Captain Nemo is also the first person to set foot on the Pole.
Then, after ascertaining the fact that they are indeed at the Pole by taking the latitude and longitude, they go back.
However, they are trapped under a falling iceberg! This is extremely dangerous; not only from the great pressure as the ice continues to freeze, but from lack of air (the Nautilus rises up to the surface ever so often for a ‘breath’ of air like a whale).
They try to chop their way through the ice, and they succeed, but after almost suffocating from lack of air.
These are my two favorite parts. I enjoyed them the most because they were the most entertaining and exciting parts. I would like to note here the true history of Captain Nemo, which I learned from another book by Jules Verne.
Captain Nemo’s real name was Prince Dakkar, and he was from India. After fighting in a war and losing all faith in humanity, he built himself a submarine ship in which to cruise the depths. He eventually died amongst friends on Lincoln Island.
* ‘Nemo’ in Latin means ‘no one.’