The curious castaway-story in the "Life of Pi" made me very nostalgic about the best castaway, and probably the best adventure book I've ever read - Mysterious Island. The plot in short: five Americans, escaping from the southerns during the civil war, had an air-balloon crash on an uninhabited island in the pacific ocean. The book is the story of their struggle against nature, or rather cooperation with nature, to survive. I recall reading this book when I was very young, probably 10-15 years ago. It had a *profound* effect on me, undoubtedly. The engineer (Cyrus Smith in the Russian translation, Cyrus Harding in the English translation... I wonder how the original French is...) immediately became my childhood hero, and he might have been the reason I decided to become an engineer myself. The engineer is super-human, he knows everything, he is skillful, inventive and smart. With his help, the castaways established a great colony on the island. It can be easily seen how fond Jules Verne is of his characters, he doesn't cease praising them, convincing the reader that these are good, honorable people who deserve the best of this life. His derogative account of the pirates provides a useful comparison point. This book also ties together two others of Verne's popular books - 20,000 leagues and children of captain Grant, which is a curious connection that somehow completes a cycle in a trilogy. I think that anyone with a scientific mind owes to himself to read this book. Give it to your children, it's a great reading experience.

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