The book opens up with the main character, an American, being invited into a mine exploration by friend. Within just a few pages of the most basic exposition the story begins. For this genre and being that the terranean characters matter little, jumping into the plot like this makes the reading fun. For a 19th century it reads very fast and before long the reader will be well acquainted with the ways of the vril-ya and vril - the power source of the coming race. It really is a fun read.
If you are fan of Lord Lytton or a fan of early Sci-Fi this is a definite read. I also would recommend this book to anyone who like 19th century novels and think this should be included in more high school English literature classes because it does not fit the stereotype and would be a welcome break for many students. While we know quite well that this work is purely fantastical it is really enjoyable to see how the mind of the 19th century saw the possibility of worlds going on underground and it is fun to imagine and believe. . .
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