Many regard Jules Verne (1828-1905) as the father of modern science fiction. After running away to sea at the age of 11, and getting sent home in disgrace, Verne took up writing. His early works, mostly plays and librettos, met with little success. His first novel, "Five Weeks in a Balloon," based on extensive readings on science and geography, led him to a career writing adventure stories infused with meticulously accurate scientific elements. Novels such as "Journey to the Center of the Earth," "From the Earth to the Moon," "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea," and many others followed, earning him a place as one of the most popular authors of all time, read by millions thorughout the world. "Eight Hundred Leagues on the Amazon" (sometimes split into two volumes, "The Giant Raft" and "The Cryptogram") tells of a blackmail victim forced on trip down the Amazon to clear his good name. Filled with detailed descriptions of strange lands, animals, plants, and people, it remains a rare volume of Verne's adventure stories.