Short summary - The Begum's Fortune
Jules Gabriel Verne
Two cities are being built in America on the legacy of an Indian princess - an ideal one and a paramilitary one. The ruler of a paramilitary city wants to destroy the hated neighbor, creates a terrible weapon, but because of his own mistake, he destroys his city.
Five hundred million is the inheritance of an Indian princess (begum), which is waiting for its heir. It goes to the French doctor Sarassin, who is overjoyed. He intends to use this money to build a modern, clean and developing city. But a German scientist, Professor Schultz, claims the inheritance and also wants to build a city. His idea of him is different from Sarassin's. Schultz dreams of a steel, gun empire full of guns and cannons.
Both plans are being implemented. Opposite the paramilitary Stahlstadt, the pure and ideal city of Franceville emerges. Soon a conflict erupted between the two cities. Schultz aims his cannons with incomprehensible projectiles at competitors.
A young Alsatian engineer, Marcel Bruckmann, enters the city under a false name and enters into the confidence of Schultz. The builder of a huge cannon and a secret weapon does not allow anyone to his invention. Bruckman manages to escape and warn of the terrible plans of the people of Franceville. At the last moment, Marcel discovers an error in Schultz's calculations. The shot, as Marcel believed, misses the target.
Silence reigns in Steel City. Rumor has it that Schulze has gone bankrupt. The city no longer shows signs of life. Marcel, together with Okatav, the son of Sarassin, go to the city to solve this riddle. They find Schultz dead and find out that he has developed a projectile that will not harm buildings, but will spray poison over the object. because of the mistake of the inventor, the whole city perished.