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Michael Strogoff  
Jules Verne Michel Strogoff 1876 cover.jpg
First edition, 1876
Author Jules Verne
Original title Michel Strogoff
Translator W. H. G. Kingston (published under his name, but actually translated by his wife Agnes Kinloch Kingston)
Illustrator Jules Férat
Country France
Language French
Series The Extraordinary Voyages #14
Genre(s) Adventure novel
Publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel
Publication date 1876
Published in
Media type Print (Hardback)
Preceded by The Survivors of the Chancellor
Followed by Off on a Comet

Michael Strogoff: The Courier of the Czar (French: Michel Strogoff) is a novel written by Jules Verne in 1876. Critics consider it one of Verne's best books. Unlike some of Verne's other famous novels, it is not science fiction, but a scientific phenomenon is a plot device. The book was later adapted to a play, by Verne himself and Adolphe D'Ennery. Incidental music to the play was written by Jules Massenet in 1880. The book has been adapted several times for films and cartoon series.


Plot summary

Michael Strogoff, a 30-year-old native of Omsk, is a courier for Tsar Alexander II of Russia. The Tartar Khan, Feofar, incites a rebellion and separates the Russian Far East from the mainland, severing telegraph lines. Rebels encircle Irkutsk, where the local governor, brother of the Tsar, is making a last stand. Strogoff is sent to Irkutsk to warn the governor about the traitor Ivan Ogareff. Ogareff, a former colonel, was once demoted and exiled and now seeks revenge against the royal family. He intends to destroy Irkutsk by setting fire to the huge oil storage tanks on the banks of the Angara River.

On his way to Irkutsk, Strogoff meets Nadia Fedor, daughter of an exiled political prisoner, Basil Fedor, who has been granted permission to join his father at his exile in Irkutsk, the English war correspondent Harry Blount and Alcide Jolivet, a Frenchman reporting for his 'cousin Madeleine'. Blount and Jolivet tend to follow the same route as Michael, separating and meeting again all the way through Siberia. He is supposed to travel under a false identity, but he is discovered by the Tartars when he meets his mother in their home city of Omsk.

Michael, his mother and Nadia are eventually taken prisoner by the Tartar forces. Ivan Ogareff alleges that Michael is a spy. Feofar, after consulting the Koran, decides that Michael will be blinded as punishment in the Tartar fashion, with a hot blade. For several chapters the reader is led to believe that Michael was indeed blinded, but it transpires in fact that he was saved from this fate and was only pretending.

Eventually, Michael and Nadia escape, and travel to Irkutsk with a friendly peasant. They are delayed by fire and the frozen river. However, they eventually reach Irkutsk, and warn the Tsar's brother in time of Ivan Ogareff. Nadia's father, who has been appointed commander of a suicide battalion, and later pardoned, joins them and Michael and Nadia are married.

Correlation to actual events

As in many of Verne's books, great prescience of later events is shown. This novel describes how invaders of Russia always attack during the summer and conquer large areas while the local population retreats at great cost of life. But also, come winter, the Russians reconquer it all and exterminate the invaders. Echoing Napoleon, this also seems to foresee the Nazi invasion of World War II. Specifically, the exciting siege of Irkutsk closely reminds the Battle of Stalingrad, in both cases the successful defense of the cities by the Russians and later relief by Russian forces being the turning points of the war. The custom of placing political prisoners into suicide battalions which was commonplace during World War II is also referred to in the novel.

Sources of information

Exact sources of Verne's quite accurate knowledge of contemporary Eastern Siberia remain disputed. One popular version connects it to he novelist's meetings with anarchist Peter Kropotkin, however, Kropotkin arrived in France after Strogoff was published.[1] Another, more likely source, could have been Siberian businessman Mikhail Sidorov. Sidorov presented his collection of natural resources, including samples of oil and oil shales from Ukhta area, together with photographs of Ukhta oil wells, at the 1873 World Exhibition in Vienna where he could have met Verne.[1] Real-world oil deposits in Lake Baikal region do exist, first discovered in 1902 in Barguzin Bay and Selenge River delta,[2] but they are nowhere near the commercial size depicted by Verne.[3]

Films and TV

  • ZDF Vier Teiler: Michael Strogoff: Der Kurier des Tsaren (German 4-part TV drama)
  • Michel Strogoff (1975)
  • The Courier Of The Czar (1999)
  • Michael Strogoff, a 1926 US silent film with Technicolor sequences


  1. ^ a b Fuks, Matveychuk, pp. 371-373
  2. ^ Fuks, Matveychuk, pp. 374-375
  3. ^ Fuks, Matveychuk, p. 372


  • Fuks, Igor; Matveychuk, Alexander (2008) (in Russian). Istoki rossiyskoy nefti (Истоки российской нефти). Moscow: Drevlekhranilische. ISBN 978-5-93646-137-8.  

External links


Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Michael Strogoff
by Jules Verne, translated by Agnes Kinloch Kingston
Michael Strogoff: The Courier of the Czar (French: Michel Strogoff) is a novel written by Jules Verne in 1876. It is considered one of Verne's best books by critics. Unlike some of Verne's other famous novels, it is not science fiction.Excerpted from Michael Strogoff on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

This etext has been provided by Project Gutenberg.

This work is an abridged version of the translation by Agnes Kinloch, wife of W. H. G. Kingston. Kingston's translation was initially published in Britain by Sampson, Low & Marston (1876), and in the United States by various publishers (Charles Scribner's Sons, George Munro) from 1877. Kingston's work is a fairly complete translation of Verne's original. The version here is from volume 8 of "The Works of Jules Verne", edited by Charles F. Horne and published by Vincent Parke and Company in 1911. About 10% of Kingston's original translation has been deleted. The complete version in PDF format is available on Google-books as published by Scribners, and awaits conversion into a new complete text version.

Book I

Book II


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