Five Weeks in a Ballon
By Jules Verne
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Five Weeks in a Balloon, or, Journeys and Discoveries in Africa by Three Englishmen (French: Cinq semaines en ballon) is an adventure novel by Jules Verne, published in 1863. It is the first novel in which he perfected the "ingredients" of his later work, skillfully mixing a plot full of adventure and twists that hold the reader's interest with passages of technical, geographic, and historic description. The book gives readers a glimpse of the exploration of Africa, which was still not completely known to Europeans of the time, with explorers traveling all over the continent in search of its secrets. A scholar and explorer, Dr. Samuel Ferguson, accompanied by his manservant Joe and his friend professional hunter Richard "Dick" Kennedy, sets out to travel across the African continent — still not fully explored — with the help of a balloon filled with hydrogen. He has invented a mechanism that, by eliminating the need to release gas or throw ballast overboard to control his altitude, allows very long trips to be taken...