Book: I, Nemo
by J. Dharma Windham and Deanna Windham
Publisher: Self-published by J. Dharma and Deanna Windham
Furnished by: The authors themselves
Publisher’s Description: “What if the Nautilus and its famous captain wasn’t fiction?
Every legend has a beginning. Every man has a name. But none as dark and mysterious as the depths of the seas he stalked. The world in time would come to know him as Captain Nemo and his fabulous submarine the Nautilus. Here, for the first time, the tale is told in his own words of how he came to be: I, Nemo.”
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Review: We all know Jules Verne’s version of Captain Nemo — whether you’ve read the book or seen the movie, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea has always been the authority on Nemo and his adventures… until now.
I, Nemo is the story behind the story. Told in “his own” words through a series of water-logged journal entries is the tale of the man born to earth and to civilization as Jonathan de Chevalier Mason. A naval engineer for England’s royalty, Mason lives a noble life with his wife and two daughters. However, a slip of the tongue quickly teaches Mason that whilst his friends have been close, his enemies have been much closer.
Betrayed, beaten down and banished, Mason finds himself imprisoned until he eventually finds his salvation in a French priest, Father Blondeau, and his band of monks from the order of St. Mary. Together they concoct a daring escape to an island in the South Pacific which holds the lost treasure of Napoleon Bonaparte and the key to Mason’s dream: to engineer the world’s first submarine, The Nautilus. And thus, born to sea and solitude we meet a brand new man, fueled by anger and a deep desire for revenge — our infamous Nemo (a name borrowed from Homer’s Odyssey meaning “No One.”)
As we travel beneath the water’s surface with the Captain and his crew, the authors paint a beautiful picture of the pure, untouched sea-life that becomes Nemo’s world. However, eventually, his desire for revenge eats away at his soul. And Nemo won’t stop until the waters run red with his enemies’ blood.
Though this isn’t the type of subject matter I’d normally choose to read, I was very glad that I did. The authors do a wonderful job of pulling the reader into Nemo’s world and keeping her there. With all the vivid imagery being used, it’s easy to picture Nemo wherever he is — slaving in a penal colony on a deserted island, acting the gentleman all over Europe or proudly calling out orders deep beneath the sea.
This story is relayed to us by a narrator of sorts, Dr. Jacob Ballion of The Pacific Oceanographic Institute, who was the one to discover the wreck of The Nautilus which contained Captain Nemo’s journal. While we all but forget about him during the storytelling (only interrupting here and there to make a note on the condition of the journal’s missing material or to add a bit of historical background), our story is cut off by an emergency in Ballion’s world just as it finishes its perceived climax. His ship, the transcriptions of Nemo’s journal and all evidence of The Nautilus is seized by the U.S. Navy and whisked thoroughly away — leaving us with a cliffhanger and a perfect setup for a sequel. I’ll be looking forward to finding out what happens next in Raise The Nautilus.