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Chapter 1

Jules Verne

Lighthouse at the End of the World

Translated and Edited by William Butcher

University of Nebraska Press


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At the extreme tip of South America, Staten Island has piercing Antarctic winds, lonely coasts assaulted by breakers, sailors lost as their vessels smash on the dark rocks. Now civilization dares to rule here, a lighthouse penetrates the last and wildest place of all. But Vasquez, the guardian of the sacred light, has not reckoned with the vicious, desperate Kongre gang, who murder his two friends and force him out into the wilderness. Alone, without resources, can he foil their cruel plans and restore the heroic beacon?

A gripping tale of passion and perseverance, Verne’s testament novel paints a compelling picture of intrigue and heroism, schemes and calamities. The master storyteller returns here to the theme of civilization against its two oldest enemies, pitiless nature and men's savagery.

Jules Verne (1828–1905), the most translated author in the world, wrote The Meteor Hunt (Nebraska 2006). This is the first ever publication in English of Verne’s original manuscript. International pioneer of Verne Studies William Butcher not only translates magisterially but provides a full critical edition, with penetrating literary analysis and informative annotation.


"a cracking good novel, and William Butcher's commentary is superb", SFRA Review

"One of Verne’s tensest, tautest thrillers, a lean, ferocious, breakneck yarn readers will devour in a single evening. Butcher renders action scenes with great color and dash, dialogues with sparkling fluency ... His research, commentaries, and analyses are riveting new contributions to our understanding of this Protean novelist. Outstanding entertainment, admirable scholarship", Frederick Paul Walter

"wondrous, old-fashioned adventure story, likely to bring out the little boy, the castaway, the pirate and the lighthouse-keeper in every reader", Los Angeles Times and Newsday.com

"l'un des plus brillants spécialistes de Jules Verne et de son oeuvre", Jules Verne News

"amazingly readable", Les Chappelll

"we're in the midst of a Verne renaissance brought on by new manuscripts, improved translations, and scholarly reassessments", Wall Street Journal review of Lighthouse

"a really good book that completely captured my attention", Magnus

"impeccable", Jean-Pierre Picot

“William Butcher’s text has an easy, graceful rhythm; it preserves the allusive complexity of the original prose”, Michael Crichton