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Editor reviews

The Underground City, also known as The Black Indies, The Child of the Cavern, and other titles, is an adventure novel of the extraordinary by the French fabulist, Jules Verne. Set in Scotland in the Victorian age, the novel stars James Starr, a venerable member of the academy, who sets off to explore a long-closed mine in the middle of Scotland. What he finds there is shocking.

Performed in a grave, mysterious style by Jon Bolen, Starr’s journey reveals an entire family living far beneath daylight, deep in the abandoned mine. But his discoveries do not end there. Soon he finds beautiful homes, a fishing lake, young lovers, and presence that may be evil wrought pure. This audiobook is best enjoyed above the Earth’s surface.

Summary

How can humans survive and prosper 1,500 feet below the earth's surface? Jules Verne successfully weaves a dark yet magnificent story into this equally dark world. The story takes place in a revived and now prosperous coal mine. Amazingly, life in the mine has everything that one desires, including a lake, fish and attractive homes. Yet there lurks an evil presence. Unexplainable, malicious, and life-threatening occurrences begin. But why? The evil force could destroy the underground world and everyone in it!
©2000 Tantor Media Incorporated

What listeners say about The Underground City

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lovely story well performed

Excellent English and interesting story.Well narated, I could follow even though I had breaks in the listening.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-11-20

the narrator is the most boring human alive

Please get a new narrator. i listened to approximatelly an hour of this book. I just couldn't stand the flat monotone voice of this old man streeeetchiing aaaal thee woooords oooouut. i kept expecting him to yawn. this was the most horrible performance i have ever seen / listened to.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Susan
  • 04-10-06

A Middling Tale

As a longtime Jules Verne fan, I was looking forward to this story. I was happy with the tale itself, although the narrative structure could have been more active. Unfortunately, I was not impressed by the reader's lack of a decent Scots accent.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • 17-07-08

Suspensful story line

This was an enjoyable reading about a coal mine located near Edinburgh, Scotland. Having traveled extensively throughout Scotland, I was saddened to hear the narrator consistently mispronounce the word Edinburgh using instead the American rendering of Edinburg. Other than this mispronunciation, the story line proved to be most intriguing. I would recommend this book to others.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-07-21

Ok

I don’t normally criticize the readers since I have no idea how difficult it is. However, this reader made it very difficult to get through the book. As for the story it was ok. I enjoy Jules Verne but this one is average at best.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Adrienne
  • 13-12-21

Not quite what ie expected from the title

I probably should've read the synopsis more thoroughly before downloading. I expected something about a lost or secret city discovered deep beneath the earth. It’s not. not at all.

The "underground city" just refers to the community of Scottish miners who love coal mining and underground spaces so much they spend a good chunk of their lives underground, going so far as to build a town in the vast mine and caves.

There is some wonder of underground places and phenomena to the book, but it is mostly about the hopes and aspirations of miners, their relationships, discoveries, and mysterious skullduggery taking place in the mine.

Read this if you're looking for a fictionalized account of the wonders and dangers of subterranean life. But not if you're interested in ancient civilizations or similar topics.

Also, sorry to note: the accents on this reading were fairly abysmal. But it was free so can't complain too much.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jonathan
  • 11-03-21

Wrong narrator

I don’t want to judge harshly, as I didn’t finish the book. I also don’t want to say it was a terrible narrator, as he may do fine work on other jobs. However, I will say that his use of accents was terrible. The Scottish coal miner shifted from Irish to French, to an American trying to soften his hard Rs. Yet, never Scottish (Edinburgh does NOT have a hard G sound). At times it sounded like a college freshman trying to sound more intelligent by anglicizing his voice. It would have been significantly better if he had just narrated in his own voice.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-12-21

I struggled to finish this.

The narration was so bad I had to make several attempts to get through this book. At times it seemed the narrator was reading each individual sentence as if it had nothing to do with the previous or following sentence. A sentence would end as if it ended a thought and the next sentence would start as if it was starting an entirely new thought. Very disruptive to the flow of the story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • David B
  • 09-11-21

Prosaic story. Annoying narration.

This is one of Jules Verne's lesser-known stories, and with good reason; it lacks the drama and vivid imagery of his classic adventure tales. It would nevertheless be a pleasant read were it not for the annoying narration.
John Bolen has a clear, distinct voice but he chooses to speak with a patrician, pedantic air of disdain for the unwashed masses of his audience. His pacing is reminiscent of a skipping record (younger readers can ask their parents to explain that), and his attempts at dialectical voice characterizations range from comical to absurd (the old miner reminded me of Long John Silver).

1 person found this helpful

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  • Vee
  • 12-05-22

Not Jules Verne's best story

Narration was great. Simple, but there were not too many characters.
The story wavers in and out of being interesting. I only found 3/4ths of it to actually be interesting, and it feels like tales that could be told in a handful of sentences. Oh well. It helped pass my day along doing boring tasks.

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  • JS
  • 10-04-22

not very interesting

First of all the narration is just so so. He has a hard time with the Scottish accents in the book. Over all the story is very boring and hard to get in to. I found myself just trudging through it to get to the end. I was expecting something more fantastical after reading some of his other works. All in all it is just so so.