Short summary - Eight Hundred Leagues on the Amazon - Jules Gabriel Verne

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - Eight Hundred Leagues on the Amazon
Jules Gabriel Verne

A man who has been hiding from the Brazilian authorities for many years under an assumed name is accused of a serious crime in which he is not involved. Due to a fatal set of circumstances, he cannot prove his innocence.

Captain Torres, a slave hunter, is interested in a mysterious sealed letter. When he sleeps, the brown howler steals the metal case containing the letter. The monkey is killed by Manuel Valdez, who is in the forest with his friend Benito Garral. Torres gets the case again and learns that Benito's father, Joaquín Garral, is about to go to Brazil.

Joam is the owner of a hacienda and plantation, which are located near the border between Brazil and Peru, on the left bank of the Amazon. The hacienda is located near the village of Iquito. When Joam was twenty-three years old, a Portuguese family found him, half-starved, in the jungle. The Portuguese went out to Joama and adopted him into their family. Joam married their daughter Jacquita and became the owner of their hacienda, but he had never been to Brazil.

Joam's daughter, Minha, is about to marry the regimental doctor, Manuel Valdez. Jacquita wants the wedding to take place with her husband's parents, who live in Belem. A huge raft is being built for the journey. Before leaving, Manuel, Benito, Minha and their maid Lina save the life of Fragoso, a half-starved hairdresser who wants to hang himself with a liana. He falls in love with Lina.

On the raft that floats along Jangada, in addition to servants, animals and a priest who is to conduct the marriage ceremony, Fragoso is also located. He who meets Torres, who has joined the travelers. When the raft is attacked by caimans, Torres saves Joama's life and Fragoso saves Minhe. He soon learns everything about the engagement with Minha.

Torres is trying to blackmail Joam, whose real name is Joam Daskota. He flees to Brazil as he was sentenced to death for stealing diamonds. Torres has evidence of his innocence. We are talking about an encrypted written confession of a real criminal who told Torres about this on his deathbed. For this, Torres demands from Joam to give his daughter Minha to him. When Joam refuses, Torres leaves the travelers.

When they reach the city of Manaus, Joam is arrested. Torres gave him away. Previously, Joam was in correspondence with the president of the court, Judge Riberio, to whom he is ready to submit. Riberio is aware of Joam's attempts to prove his innocence, but he suddenly dies of a heart attack. His deputy, Vincent Jarriquez, issues the arrest order. He interrogates Joam, although he is convinced of his guilt. Jarricuez sends a report to the Minister of Justice in Rio de Janeiro and awaits a guilty verdict - the death penalty.

Benito, Fragoso and Manuel surround Torres on a cliff, near the city of Rio Negro. In the fight, Benito kills Torres and dumps the body into the river. Joam is horrified to learn of Torres' death. In his pocket, in a sealed letter, is the only proof of Joam's innocence. Wearing a diving suit, Benito dives into the river to find Torres' body.

Soon he finds a body at the bottom of the river. The corpse is already bloated. Benito is attacked by an electric eel and a fight begins, but his friends manage to help him, who catch Torres' body from the water. In the pockets of the dead man they find a case with a letter.

They find Judge Jarriquez, who tries to open the case. He fails, because the case is closed with a combination lock. Fragoso has a plan. He wants to find friends and acquaintances of Torres and learn from them the origin of the documents and the cipher. Benito and Manuel try to free Joaquin from prison, but he refuses to go with them.

Meanwhile, the police chief receives a death warrant letter for Joam, and Fragoso learns that Torres had a close friend named Ortega. With the last of his strength, he returns to Manaus and calls Jarriquez the name of Ortega. With the help of this name, Jarriquez finds the key and opens the case.

Ortega was a courier for a diamond transport and was attacked twenty-three years ago. During the attack, he faked his own death. He was deceived by diamond speculators and he decided to join Torres.

Ortega wanted to make Joam the executor of the crime and wrote a sealed letter, but died in a fight before he could deliver his letter to Garral. Before his death, he changed the cipher, because Torres wanted to use the document for his own purposes.

The story ends happily: Joam is acquitted and he can have time to sail to the wedding along the Jangada River.