Back in April, I took part in The Classics Club’s 26th Spin event, for which my result was to read the 1912 adventure The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle – I was thrilled with this result, because I was hoping to read it this spring anyway and I was excited to try more by Doyle after having loved all of his Sherlock Holmes stories.
The Lost World, like most of Holmes’ mysteries, opens in London, 1907; where we are introduced to the young journalist Edward Malone, as he faces rejection from the woman he loves, because he is too prosaic! And so, Edward decides to go in search of adventure and fame to prove himself worthy of her. Soon after, he has a tumultuous meeting with the irascible Professor George Challenger: a zoologist who claims to have discovered a ‘lost world’ populated by prehistoric monsters!
However finding himself the laughing-stock of the scientific world at his first public meeting to showcase his astounding discoveries, Challenger proposes a second expedition to South America to prove his claims true; for which Edward inexplicably finds himself volunteering, along with the renowned adventurer Lord John Roxton and Challenger’s rival Professor Summerlee.
Together they set off in high spirits for a journey of a life time across oceans, up the mighty Amazon river, through dense jungle, till they come to an enormous wall of rock that marks the edge of our world and the beginning of an older, more fantastical one. On the other side, they will need to work together and have all their wits about them to explore, survive and eventually escape this alien land of dangerous dinosaurs, vicious apes, diminutive humans and exotic fauna, flora and minerals.
This all adds up to a spiffingly-good adventure with a colourful group of characters. While I can’t say I loved any of them quite like the genius Holmes and the endearing Watson, I certainly liked the lively, open-minded Edward and the ruggedly, brave Lord Roxton very much; and the bull-headed Challenger’s rivalry with the lily-livered Summerlee made for much entertainment, too. I like how each had their role and together made an unlikely, but successfully team.
All in all, I thought The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle was a wonderful read, with plenty of adventure, fun and danger in a fantastical undiscovered land: a creation which was quite before its time – apart from some of the commonly held thoughts on dinosaur physiognomy from the period, that we now know not to be true. I was enjoying myself too much to care for these inaccuracies though. Great read
(This is book 28/50 for my Classics Club II reading challenge)
Now over to you, let me know in the comments: Have you read this? Or any of the other Professor Challenger adventures?