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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!(Summary by Mark)