On my last trip to the library to pick up my hold, I did what I so often dangerously do. I looked on the shelves. I was afflicted by the burning desire to take a wheelbarrow full of thick novels home with me, even though I know I have other books to read and other things to do. Oh the pain!
This time, however, what I found was so compelling that I snatched it up secretively, almost looking behind me for spies, and scanned it through before my conscience could catch up.
It was The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Conan Doyle is one of my favourite writers, with Sherlock Holmes and Watson being two of my favourite characters of all times and their memoirs some of the best reading I have ever done. The blurb claimed that just as he set the bar for crime fiction, so did he set the bar for the action adventure novel. This was a book I could not ignore.
It took me a while to get my head around the fact that what I was reading wasn't Jules Vern. I'm not sure why I felt it was a touch Vernian in style. I suppose it was the genre. Yes, that must have been it. But Conan Doyle isn't like Jules Vern. While Vern finds it easy to get lost in details and technical descriptions and long unfurnished accounts of adventures, Conan Doyle is knife sharp.
Within a chapter, I was intrigued and excited and by the end of the second chapter I was connected to the endearing main character, Edward Malone with a "I've got your back, young-fellow-my-lad" sort of friendship. So far, it is fast-paced, and exciting, suspensful as it builds to a point of exhilaration as we pack our bags for the sudden adventure. It is a quest.
I have revelled in the opening chapters for their flurry of feasts for the senses, the characters who. like Holmes, bulge from the page into rampant, snorting motion, and the impulsive drive and suspense that wraps itself around every happening. Like in Holmes, Conan Doyle has given us a sweeter, very loveable character to love, then teased us with the infuriating professors and the quirky Lord John.
This is bound to be a grant quest into the lost world of Conan Doyle's writing!