The official blurb
A story of castaways, similar to Robinson Crusoe and The Swiss Family Robinson, this book details the escape from Civil War-era Richmond, Virginia, of five Northern men who dared to go aloft in a balloon in the midst of a hurricane. Deposited on a lonely island in the Pacific, they make do with Yankee ingenuity where Chance has left them nothing. Only later do they find they have a hidden benefactor: Captain Nemo, of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, who resides, alone, secretly on the island. In time, the tiny colony becomes so prosperous that it is able to rescue another castaway from an island a hundred miles away. But all their work will come to naught - their island’s volcano is about to awake!
This is a true "classic". Adventure and survival play a large part in the story. The ship/balloon wrecked survivors start by scratching a survival but slowly start adding to their tools and building a life on the lost island.
The story was a little dispointing for me, its well told but the series of happy coincidences one on top of another, time after time stretched the possibilities just too far for my taste. I ended up coming out of the story telling experience and saying to myself, "oh not again".
It's a long audio book and in places too long. I suspect that if you were to listen to it in an episodic, one chapter a week, the story would come across better.
Reading = 3/3
Production = 3/3
Story = 1/3
Total = 7/9
You can get it at Librivox.