• Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

  • By: Jules Verne
  • Narrated by: Bill Homewood
  • Length: 18 hrs and 52 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (214 ratings)

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Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea  By  cover art

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

By: Jules Verne
Narrated by: Bill Homewood
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Publisher's Summary

The most exciting underwater adventure ever!

In 1866 a mysterious giant whale savagely attacks ships in international seas. A famous French marine biologist, Pierre Aronnax, joins the hunt to track down and incapacitate the creature. With him are his loyal servant, Conseil, and redoubtable Canadian harpooner Ned Land. They soon find that their enemy is no sea beast but a brilliantly designed submarine. They are captured and imprisoned by its master, the sinister Captain Nemo. The story is relentlessly thrilling while containing beautifully written observations of underwater life.

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea has been hugely influential on popular culture, having inspired several stage and film adaptations, including a Walt Disney film with Kirk Douglas. Captain Nemo also appears as a main character in the graphic novel and film The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Bill Homewood's distinctive voice is perfect for the French classics: He has previously read The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Three Musketeers for Naxos AudioBooks and is "...a narrator so perfectly matched to his material that you can't help but smile" (The Times).

Public Domain (P)2016 Naxos AudioBooks

What listeners say about Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Average Customer Ratings
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    5 out of 5 stars
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A good one

A good reading of this complex masterpiece. It starts with a complete translation, which only a handful of Verne audiobooks do: the ones narrated by James Frain and Norman Dietz are among this handful. (Penguin Classics has also just released a good, complete reading of the novel.) Most Americans are unaware of just how hacked up most translations of Verne are. Almost all of the versions available on Audible use a terrible Victorian translation that is notoriously inaccurate and is also missing about 25% of Verne’s text! Naxos gets points for using a good translation as a basis for this audiobook. More about that in a minute, though.

Bill Homewood has a formal style of narration, complete with trilled Rs. It takes some getting used to, but it lends itself well to some of the lyrical descriptions of nature that appear here, and when the narrative picks up speed and passion, so does his voice. Naxos has recently released the other “Big Four” Verne titles, also narrated by Homewood (Journey to the Center of the Earth, Around the World in 80 Days, From the Earth to the Moon/Around the Moon).

FURTHER NOTE ON THE TRANSLATION. The translation Naxos used for this — an excellent one — is by FP Walter. At one time it was in the public domain, although I believe it has since been withdrawn, and Walter has published a much-revised translation as part of an anthology entitled “Amazing Journeys” (SUNY Press, 2010). All the translations are new, and it includes many of the original illustrations. If you’re a Verne fan, or you’re looking for a gift for one, check out Walter’s anthology.

28 people found this helpful

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I just couldn’t do it...

I really wanted to like this story. It actually showed a lot of promise in the beginning but the longer it went on, the longer the story felt. I kept giving it chances, “maybe it will pick up the pace,” “maybe it will get better”... it didn’t.

I love Bill Homewood. He’s a great narrator. Highly recommend The Count of Monte Cristo! Listen to that one instead!

1 person found this helpful

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Great narration but meh story

Hope you really want to learn about oceanic life. Cuz you will. Overall story is decent but far too much time is taken by classifying and explaining the nuances of marine life. Glad I did this by audio book... never would have made it through. All in all worth a listen.

1 person found this helpful

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A Little Flat

This was well-written (well, it *is* a classic, after all) if a little description-heavy, and the reader's voice made for very pleasant listening. However, the reader's voice was so calm and mellow, it made the more exciting bits...not very. There was also very little of the more violent emotion shown in the reading - which might be fairly accurate as this is a first-person narrative and the more violent emotions come from other people. All-in-all, I enjoyed this but found it more soothing and interesting than exciting. I feel that Jules Verne was probably going for exciting so judge for yourself whether this is positive or negative.

1 person found this helpful

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A monotonous yet moving marvel

Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues is quite the novel. It can bore you to tears with classification of marine life (unless you enjoy that kind of thing) and then thrill you with terrifying or impressive drama. Bill Homewood does a remarkable job keeping the listener engaged, and indeed breathless as you imagine the crew about to perish from asphyxiation. Overall an enjoyable experience.

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Excellent!

The story greatly exceeded my expectations. Bill Homewood does a great job with the characters and their personalities and voices to match.

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Verne rambles on and on and on....

Yes the overall story is good, but Verne rambles excessively and often about classification of various species, to the point of detracting from the story. the average reader gets lost in the rambling.

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Slow and boring

To much science, not near enough action to keep readers interested. To slow to keep the average reader awake!

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A dream audiobook

The narrator is magic and the story is so full of events, marvellous adventures and long enough for you to feel part of it. Wish to find an illustrated book of it now. Thank you for this journey!

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  • RB
  • 02-21-20

A very remarkable tale worth a second listen.

Enjoyable from beginning to end, Allowing your imagination to run free! Finely executed, the listener can sit back and soak in the vastness of the sea all awhile being spurred to adventure!

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  • Coralie
  • 04-14-17

Pure adventure!

This is an outstanding piece of sci-fi. It is mind blowing to think Verne wrote it before a lot of the science and technology he describes in the book was invented. The guy came from the future. The story is great and entertaining. You also learn so much about science, philosophy, history and marine biology: it's an encyclopaedia inside a novel. I wanted to listen to it in French (in the language it was originally written) but the French narrator was just awful and I just couldn't see myself listening to this guy massacre this book for 17hrs. So I opted for this English version and it is definitively a good choice.

9 people found this helpful

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  • StephenM
  • 10-14-20

Disappointing

Maybe I expected to much, or perhaps listening to an abridged version would have been a better option. It was a very long book, I must confess if your into marine biology then fabulous however I found myself getting a bit bored with the almost constant lists of aquatic life that they came across on their journey part of the story I know but it was hard to maintain your concentration on times. The narrator was very good and possible one of the reasons I continued with the book. I was disappointed with the ending, as I said at the beginning perhaps I expected to much.

1 person found this helpful

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  • AWE
  • 07-17-19

Not the most exciting story

There was way too much detail about fish and position. It seemed like whole chapters were about the fish they were seeing. There were some exciting parts but these were too few in number. I started listening to this because I really couldn't finish reading it. Had I put it down when I thought I should then that would have been fine and I could have used my credit on something better.

Also the ending was a bit lackluster... Hey, maybe it was just me. Many people before me have really enjoyed this book and I'm sure many people after me will too enjoy this book.

"Around the world in 80 days" is more fun. Or perhaps read "the lost world" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Both of these were good fun.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kaiomurz
  • 06-18-19

very unsatisfying ending

the premise of the book is fascinating and the imagination gone into writing it, vivid. however, the author raises several questions about Captain Nemo throughout the book but fails to resolve them in a satisfactory manner.
another annoying aspect of the book is the inclusion of dozens of very long passages that simply inventory sea life or provide lessons in geography. because of that, the actual plot is very thin.
very well read by Bill Homewood, though.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Paul Ford
  • 03-11-19

Fantastic narrator and fantastic story

The story is fantastic however the details can become tedious at times. Very enjoyable though

1 person found this helpful

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  • Psi-Co
  • 11-28-21

Lists of fish

I know it's from a long time ago but my goodness, so many lists of fish! Also "in other words" is used so often I can help but think Jules was padding

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  • Pocket
  • 08-07-21

Sorry I had to admit defeat on this one

This is sadly a rare occasion when I haad to throw in the towel and abandon an Audible title half way through. I'm aware that it's a classic, but possibly more accessible to budding naturalists or people of a scientific leaning.

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  • Pen 2
  • 02-18-21

Classic

Tremendous story written such a long time ago. Ecological aspects surprising for the age of the book.

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  • Call me Bob
  • 12-22-20

One of the classics. Still new things to discover.

Loved the book, reminded me of my childhood.
And the narrator is very nice, clastic diction, very appropriate for the book. And very nice pronunciation of all the names, especially the French ones.

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  • Ugo Abate
  • 08-15-19

A classic that never stops to amaze

An amazing journey, an incredible adventure that keeps making people dream today. Another great performance by Bill Homewood.