This is the story of the adventurous life of Jeremiah Reynolds, born fatherless in Pennsylvania at the very end of the Eighteenth Century. At 20 he met a captain who longed to test the theory he had that the earth was hollow, probably inhabited under the surface, and that this underworld could be reached through openings at the poles.
Reynolds’s love of adventure and exploration drove him to attempt his first great escapade, after he had convinced the President of the United States himself to finance the expedition. He set off for the then unexplored Antarctic, and was probably the first man to set foot on the continent. He then became a colonel in Chile, commander in chief of the Mapuche armies, undertook a half circumnavigation of the world, worked as a lawyer in New York, befriended a young journalist called Edgar Allan Poe – who would remember him in his Adventures of Arthur Gordon Pym – and in 1839, twelve years before Melville’s book, wrote an account of a whale hunt called Mocha Dick, imagining the events based on the accounts of a sailor he had met in Chile.
He died unrecognised at the age of 58, in a small cottage in the Bronx, just as the Poe novel he inspired was published in France in its translation by Baudelaire.
Christian Garcin is the author of many books (novels, novellas, essays, travelogues…) including La Piste mongole (Verdier, 2009), Des femmes disparaissent (Verdier, 2011), Les Nuits de Vladivostok (Stock, 2013) and Selon Vincent (Stock, 2014).