Mysterious Phileas Fogg is a cool customer. A man of the most repetitious and punctual habit – with no apparent sense of adventure whatsoever – he gambles his considerable fortune that he can complete a journey around the world in just 80 days… immediately after a newspaper calculates the feat as just barely possible. With his excitable French manservant in tow, Fogg undertakes the exercise immediately, with no preparations, trusting that his traveling funds will make up for delays along the way. But unbeknownst to him, British police are desperately seeking to arrest him for the theft of a huge sum by someone who resembles him, and they will track him around the world, if necessary, to apprehend him. This is an adventure novel of the first water, with wholly unexpected perils, hair-breadth escapes, brilliant solutions to insoluble problems, and even a love story. And can this be – That he returns to London just five minutes too late to win his wager and retain his fortune.
The sounds of a chugging steam engine and the orchestral movie-score strains that open this program set the stage for Dale's top-drawer performance of this much-loved adventure story. As one could set a clock by eccentric Phileas Fogg's daily routine, Fogg shocks everyone when he bets his personal fortune that he can complete the trip proposed in the book's title and then sets off on the wild trip. Listeners can almost envision a twinkle in Dale's eye as he delivers the lines of Fogg's traveling companion and man-servant Passepartout in an entertaining, though not over-the-top, French accent. Dale's vibrant, never-hurried reading is pleasantly punctuated by background music of the era at chapter breaks. A bonus afterword notes that this new edition pays homage to Listening Library's very first recording in 1955, of this same book. The added material also mentions the historical and social context of Verne's writings about other cultures, the tone of which would be considered insensitive or offensive by many people today. Ages 8-up.