Librivox (zipped mp3's or M4B file)
Length: 3 hr, 49 min
Reader: Ralph Snelson
The book: Set during World War I, this adventure novel starts with the sinking of an Allied ship by a German U-boat. Bowen Tyler, his dog, and the beautiful Miss Lys La Rue are rescued by a British tug, then captured by the same U-boat. Through a series of prisoner revolts, double-crosses and sabotage, the U-boat ends up at an uncharted island near Antarctica. Here, they are attacked by dinosaurs and other prehistoric beasts.
Sounds like a good, old-fashioned adventure, right? Well, it is for the first two-thirds of the book. The final third consists of Burroughs dragging his characters to an unsatisfying conclusion. As in The Lost World, I expect some amount of pseudoscience in these types of early science fiction adventures, but Burroughs' mystical version of evolution on the island severely strained my suspended believability. Perhaps the narrative is more fully resolved in the sequels, but after finishing, I felt cheated rather than wanting to know more.
Rating: 6 / 10
The reader: Snelson has a deep voice with an American Southern accent. His reading and recording quality are amateur, but satisfactory. His characters have distinctive, but not silly, voices. Snelson's matter-of-fact narrating tone doesn't add much to the story, but neither does he ruin the novel by trying to over-embellish the action.