Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859–1930) was a Scottish physician and writer known around the world for his stories about detective Sherlock Holmes, which all but created the literary field of crime fiction and made the name Sherlock Holmes synonymous with detectives. Aside from the Sherlock Holmes stories, he was a prolific writer whose other works include science fiction stories, historical novels, plays and romances, poetry, and non-fiction.
Forget the Michael Crichton book (and Spielberg movie) that copied the title. This is the original: the terror-adventure tale of The Lost World. Writing not long after dinosaurs first invaded the popular imagination, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle spins a yarn about an expedition of two scientists, a big-game hunter, and a journalist (the narrator) to a volcanic plateau high over the vast Amazon rain forest. The bickering of the professors (a type Doyle knew well from his medical training) serves as witty contrast to the wonders of flora and fauna they encounter, building toward a dramatic moonlit chase scene with a Tyrannosaurus Rex. And the character of Professor George E. Challenger is second only to Sherlock Holmes in the outrageous force of his personality: he’s a big man with an even bigger ego, and if you can grit your teeth through his racist behavior toward Native Americans, he’s a lot of fun.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In 1912, Doyle took his Victorian readers deep into the South American jungles where, high atop a treacherous plateau, a small band of British explorers encountered a terrifying world of prehistoric creatures long thought lost to the sands of time. The adventurers included a young newspaper reporter, Ed Malone; the swashbuckling aristocrat, Lord Roxton; the skeptical scientist, Professor Summerlee; and the brilliant and bombastic Professor Challenger, who leads the party. Doyle unfolds high adventure at its best with fantastic encounters with pterodactyls, stegosaurs and cunning ape -men. Glen McCready’s performance captures the time and tone of Doyle’s material perfectly without straying into melodrama. He nicely balances Malone’s sense of youthful wonder with the professors’ scientific pragmatism, while fully exploiting the humor spread strategically throughout, planting numerous chuckles among the thrills. McCready’s entertaining reading more than fulfills the author’s introductory wish to give one hour of joy to the boy who’s half a man, or the man who’s half a boy. (Feb.)
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