Readers can explore a few of Jules Verne’s best novels on this list. These were published in French and then later in English. Most touch on themes of adventure, and discovery, and feature characters who have a love for science and travel. No matter one’s interests, there is sure to be a novel on this list to capture one’s attention.
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is one of Verne’s best-known novels. It begins with the main character, Professor Aronnax, describing a large terrifying creature (that he thinks is a giant narwhal) attacking ships indiscriminately. It’s soon discovered to be a large submarine, the Nautilus, captained by the unstable Captain Nemo. The novel follows three main characters who are imprisoned by Nemo aboard the submarine and, while learning a great deal about the ocean, eventually escape their confinement.
From the Earth to the Moon
This well-known novel was published in 1865. It tells the story of a society of gun enthusiasts, the Baltimore Gun Club, in the United States. They attempt to build and launch a space gun, along with three people, into outer space and complete the first Moon landing. This novel is often cited as one of Verne’s best attempts at including scientifically accurate descriptions. Specifically of what it would take to create the described space cannon. It was followed by Around the Moon.
Five Weeks in a Balloon
Five Weeks in a Balloon, or, A Journey of Discovery by Three Englishmen in Africa, was published in 1863. The novel follows Dr. Samuel Fergusson and Richard Kennedy as they travel across the African continent. At the time the book was published, little was known to Europeans about the landscape. To make the journey more exciting, they travel in a hot air balloon. There are numerous adventures included within the novel, including a quest to find the source of the Nile River.
Around the World in Eighty Days
This book was first published in French in 1872 and described the journey of Phileas Fogg and his valet, who travel the world in 80 days on a wager of 20,000 pounds. To this day, readers map the journey of the main characters around the world, and the novel remains one of Verne’s most popular literary accomplishments.
Journey to the Center of the Earth
Journey to the Center of the Earth is another well-known Verne novel. It was published in 1864 and again in 1867. It follows Professor Otto Lidenbrock and his companions on an incredible journey into the depths of the Earth. Verne’s depiction of the center of the Earth has thrilled readers for more than 100 years and has spawned numerous films, and inspired a variety of authors.
The Mysterious Island
The Mysterious Island is sometimes described as a sequel to Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. The novel was published in 1875 and includes elements from “Twenty Thousand” as well as In Search of the Castaways. It is set during the American Civil War and follows five prisoners of war from the North. Within the novel, readers encounter the famed Captain Nemo and learn more about his background. This includes why he was so set on revenge in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
An Antarctic Mystery
An Antarctic Mystery is a two-part novel written in 1897 and inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. It features the Kerguelen Islands in the south Indian Ocean and is set in 1839, eleven years after the events in Poe’s novel. The book follows a wealthy American narrator who has spent some time studying wildlife on the remote islands. He boards the Halbrane in order to return to the United States, and the adventure begins.
The Purchase of the North Pole
The Purchase of the North Pole, also known as Topsy Turvy was published in 1889 and is the third novel to feature the Baltimore Gun Club from From the Earth to the Moon and Around the Moon. It is set twenty years after the first novel and includes some of the same characters readers encountered in the two prequels. The novel describes an auction for the rights to the North Pole, awarded to an anonymous buyer in the United States. Their identity is revealed to be connected to a group aiming to remove the tilt of the Earth’s axis. It’s their belief that if they fire their space cannon, the recoil will shift the world.
Facing the Flag
Facing the Flag or For the Flag is, as many of Verne’s best novels are, part of the Voyages extraordinaires series. It was published in 1879 and utilized patriotic themes. It describes how France, and the entire world, become threatened by a super-weapon. After the inventor of the weapon cannot sell it to anyone, he begins to lose his grasp on reality.
The Child of the Cavern
The Child of the Cavern, also known as The Black Indies is a novel published in serial form in March and April of 1877. It focuses on a mining community in Scotland and a specific mine everyone there believed to be empty. When it is reopened, the main characters discover that a small community has been living within its depths for decades.
What is Jules Verne’s best book?
Verne’s best book is commonly cited as either Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea or Journey to the Center of the Earth. These two novels, which are incredibly exciting and touch on themes of adventure, science, and discovery, are certainly his most commonly read.
What are Jules Verne’s books about?
Jules Verne’s books are generally focused on a few characters who embark on dangerous, thrilling, and unique adventures. For example, traveling to the center of the earth, trying to travel around the world in 80 days, or investigating a small community living in the depths of an abandoned mine.
What is the best Jules Verne book to start with?
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea or Journey to the Center of the Earth are two of the best books to start with if readers are interested in becoming familiar with Verne’s works. Although sections are more complicated and purely science-based, both novels include thrilling adventures.
Are Jules Verne’s books scientifically accurate?
While not every fact in Jules Verne’s books is scientifically accurate, much of what Verne included in his novels are based on science. For example, what the Nautilus submarine uses as its means of propulsion in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.