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Paperback | 496 pages | ISBN 978-0978270704 Published 14 March 2007
Kindle Edition | Published 25 April 2014
Banner Image: Guizzardi, Editrice Boschi 1962
 
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Mathias Sandoorf: Verne's Monte Cristo
Trieste, 1867. Two petty criminals, Sarcany and Zirone, intercept a carrier pigeon. They find a ciphered message attached to its leg and uncover a plot to liberate Hungary from Austro-Hungarian rule. The two meet with Silas Toronthal, a corrupt banker, and form a plan to deliver the conspirators to the police in exchange for a rich reward. The three conspirators, Count Sandorf, Stephen Bathory and Ladislas Zathmar are arrested and sentenced to death.  
Fifteen years later, the renowned physician Dr. Antekirtt sets out to avenge those three brave men. Enlisting the aid of two French acrobats, Pescade and Matifou, he scours the Mediterranean in search of those who planned the betrayal. Rich beyond all imagination, wielding great power and master of an island fortress filled with advanced weaponry, Dr. Antekirtt will not rest until justice is done.
This edition is set from George Hanna’s original translation, with slight adjustments, modifications and restorations. It is the first time Mathias Sandorf has been reprinted with all 111 illustrations since the Sampson, Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington Edition of 1889. The layout has been restored to Verne's original 5 act structure as set in Hetzel's first French edition.
From Classics for Pleasure, Michael Dirda, Harcourt 2007
Verne always makes sure that his “marvellous journeys” are always, no matter how technical, didactic, or humorous, tales of wonder and adventure. Mathias Sandorf – appropriately dedicated to the memory of Alexandre Dumas – offers a Vernian take on the immortal revenge saga The Count of Monte Cristo. In A Journey to the Centre of the Earth, three men climb down through a chimney of a volcano to discover another world underground. Like such swashbuckling authors as C.S. Forester, Rafael Sabatini, and George MacDonald Fraser, Verne seldom lets up on the excitement.
To read Jules Verne when one is young is one of the great treats of childhood. To read Jules Verne later in life is to discover a writer just as satisfying but even richer, one who is not only a natural storyteller but also a mythmaker, a social critic and an innovative artist. In France, Verne is now studied seriously as an innovative literary figure and thanks to fresh accurate English translations more and more of his work is available to American readers in reliable texts.
Mathias Sandorf: Some back story and little known facts
Mathias Sandorf was Jules Verne’s last collaboration with Pierre-Jules Hetzel, the publisher passing away a year after the novel went to press. Verne had originally planned a darker tale, with Sandorf, like Monte Cristo, bent on revenge. After much prodding, Verne was convinced to change tone; his protagonist would seek justice, a nobler pursuit.
Sandorf had been Verne’s most ambitious novel to date. It contained the largest cast of characters he’d ever brought to life, and the action took place in over 20 cities around the Mediterranean. Verne was fascinated by the beauty of the Great Sea and wanted to share it with his readers. Verne often stated that the inspiration for the novel came during a family cruise to Tanger and Malta aboard his yacht the Saint Michel. The storm off Malta described in Part III is based on his own real experiences aboard ship.
Verne may have first heard about the Foiba beneath Pisino castle in Charles Yriarte’s works Les Bords de l'Adriatique (The Ports of the Adriatic) - (Hachette, Paris 1878) and Trieste e l'Istria (Trieste and Istria) - (Hachette, Paris 1875). Yriatre described the old castle as well as his trip down into the gorge. He also mentioned an experiment by a young nobleman, Count Esdorff, to find the end of the underground river. Unfortunately the count's boat never made it out of the underground cave.
 
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Famous for his detailed research, Jules Verne collected all available information about the places he described. While preparing to write the huge three-volume novel Mathias Sandorf, he wrote a letter to the mayor of Pisino, Giuseppe Cech, asking if he could add to Yriarte's research. Mr Cech provided the information and sent Verne several photographs of the city which may have later been used as the basis for Leon Benett’s wonderful illustrations. Two years later, Jules Verne sent the mayor a first edition of Mathias Sandorf with a hand written dedication: "Au Podestat de Pisino - Hommage de l’auteur - Jules Verne - Paris, 22 novembre 1885."
from La Foiba di Pisino by Nerina Feresini (Trieste, 1972)
 
 
Poster from the 1963 film Directed by George Lampin
   
Sandorf on Stage and Screen
Mathias Sandorf was performed as a five act play in Paris in the 1880s. Though the novel had been popular, the play failed to attract. Verne himself did not make it to Paris in time to see the live adaptation. Neverthless an English version made it across the ocean and played the Boston theatre in the fall of 1888.
There have also been three screen adaptations of Mathias Sandorf. The first was made in 1921 and directed by Henri Fescourt. It starred Yvette Andréyor, Romuald Joube, and Jean Toulout. During the '20s Fescourt was one of the most successful directors working for Cineroman, and Mathias Sandorf, Les Gransa and Mandarin were among his most popular works.
In 1963 Georges Lampin directed another version starring Louis Jourdan, Francisco Rabal, Renaud Mary, and Serena Vergano. It strayed from Verne's orginal plot. A revolution is brewing and despite his life of privilege, Count Sandorf (Louis Jourdan) has sided with the rebelling masses. Unfortunately, his daughter has fallen in love with the leader of the military regime. Mathias is betrayed by false friends and improsoned as the country draws nearer to civil war.
Perhaps the most highly-acclaimed version was the TV miniseries made for French and German television in 1979. Directed by Jean-Pierre Decourt it starred Istvan Bujtor as Mathias Sandorf, Ivan Desny as Zathmar, Amadeus August, Claude Giraud, Monika Peitsch, Sissy Höfferer, Jacques Breuer.
     
Poster from the 1921 film Directed by Henri Fescourt  
 
   
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Jules Verne
Poster from the 1979 TV Mini-Series starring Istvan Bujtor
   
 
Stills from the 1921 Mathias Sandorf film directed by Henri Fescourt
     
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