The story begins in May 1863, in the Lidenbrock house in Hamburg, Germany, with Professor Lidenbrock rushing home to peruse his latest purchase, an original runic manuscript of an Icelandic saga written by Snorri Sturluson (Snorre Tarleson in some versions of the story), "Heimskringla"; the chronicle of the Norwegian kings who ruled over Iceland. While looking through the book, Lidenbrock and his nephew Axel find a coded note written in runic script along with the name of a 16th-century Icelandic alchemist, Arne Saknussemm. (This was a first indication of Verne's love for cryptography. Coded, cryptic or incomplete messages as a plot device would continue to appear in many of his works and in each case Verne would go a long way to explain not only the code used but also the mechanisms used to retrieve the original text.) Lidenbrock and Axel transliterate the runic characters into Latin letters, revealing a message written in a seemingly bizarre code. Lidenbrock attempts a decipherment, deducing the message to be a kind of transposition cipher; but his results are as meaningless as the original.
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by Jules Verne
by Lemony Snicket
by R.D. Blackmore
"Noted geologist Professor Liedenbrock discovers a cryptic message hidden in the pages of an ancient volume purporting to show the way into the center of the earth. Liedenbrock determines to make this fantastic journey, insisting his 16-year-old nephew, Henry, accompany him. Tim Curry handles the verbal pyrotechnics of Verne's classic adventure, capturing the sardonic wit and droll observations of 16-year-old Henry. Writing in 1864, when explorers such as Burton, Stanley, and Livingston were charting the earth's geography, Verne created the fantastical geography of the world below based on current scientific fact. With breathtaking surety, Curry's performance takes listeners from Germany to Iceland to the bowels of the earth and back, providing humor and clarity to what could be a difficult read for today's youngsters. S.J.H. (c) AudioFile 2011, Portland, Maine"
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