Robur the Conqueror is a science fiction novel by Jules Verne. The story begins with strange lights and sounds, including blaring trumpet music, reported in the skies all over the world. The events are capped by the mysterious appearance of black flags with gold suns atop tall historic landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty in New York, the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, and the Eiffel Tower in Paris. These events are all the work of the mysterious Robur (Latin for "oak"), a brilliant inventor who intrudes on a meeting of a flight-enthusiast's club called the Weldon Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Although he is ridiculed for his aspirations, Robur invents a flying ship named The Albatross. Further, he collects three unwilling passengers and sets sail on the air. As usual author Verne’s characters are thinly drawn, they are cartoon figures used to steer magical machines across gorgeously rendered places on Earth. Verne is not always accurate in his descriptions; his imagination tends to override reality. Imagination is helpful here: Channeling Da Vinci, Verne dreamt this contraption into being well before the Wrights really attempted flight. Narrator Robert Blumenfeld employs a sophisticated British accent. Blumenfeld seems fascinated by the minute and voluminous descriptions of place and action. His engrossment in the language and careful pronunciation helps the listener to focus on Verne’s lush scenic imagery.
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It is classic Verne, though a little lacking in plot.
Most of the middle is more of a global travelogue than story.
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Not one to compare with Around the World in 80 Days, or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, this story is still rather interesting. Though the villain is a bit silly.