Short summary - A Voyage in a Balloon - Jules Gabriel Verne

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - A Voyage in a Balloon
Jules Gabriel Verne

A not-so-famous man wants to explore what was then unknown Africa. The journey is planned in a hot air balloon

The novel begins on January 14, 1862. A certain Dr. Samuel Ferguson, a member of the Geographical Society of London, along with his servant Joe and friend Richard Kennedy, set off on a journey through Africa (by that time unexplored) in a hydrogen-filled balloon. Ferguson invented a mechanism by which it is not necessary to release gas or dump ballast, so you can travel very far on such a ball. In the novel, this adventure was to combine the expeditions of Sir Richard Francis Burton and John Henning Speke in East Africa with those of Heinrich Barth in the Sahara and Chad. The journey starts on the east coast of Zanzibar and passes through Lake Victoria, Lake Chad, Agadez, Timbuktu, Djenne, Segou to Saint-Louis in present-day Senegal. In the book, Central Africa is described as a desert, although in reality it is a savannah.

In this book, the heroes make geographical discoveries and are forced to fight with the local population and the environment. During the novel, the characters: Discover the origins of the Nile in chapter 18 (out of 43);

Rescuing a missionary from a tribe that was about to sacrifice him;

They drink all the water while they fly exhausted over the Sahara;

They endure the attack of condors, and Joe, saving the balloon from falling, jumps out of it.

Save Joe;

They barely escape the remnants of a warlike army when the balloon deflates.

The characters stay alive mainly due to incredible perseverance and luck - they are saved from many misadventures when the ball unexpectedly blows away from a dangerous place or when they look in the right direction. The novel also contains references to a higher power that watches over the characters.

The balloon deflates at the end of the adventure, but before that it lands in friendly lands, thanks to which the heroes successfully complete the journey and return to England. The novel ends on June 26, 1862.