First published in 1895. A French string quartet, on tour in the U.S.A., gets lost between San Francisco and Los Angeles after a coach accident. At night, they're invited by Calistus Munbar to come spend the night in his town. The following day, the members of the quartet awake in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on Standard Island, a 27 square kilometers island built for billionaires looking for comfort and peace. This floating island is impelled by huge engines and is now on his way to the Pacific islands. When Munbar offers to the French musicians a salary of one million dollar each to play for the inhabitants of the island for a year, they are more than pleased.
Standard island reaches soon the Sandwich islands, the Marquises islands and Hawaï. At each stop, the musicians visit the interior of the land. During a visit of the Cook islands, one of the musicians is made prisoner by cannibals and almost loses his life. A few days later, an English steamer brings over by night dozens of lions, tigers and panthers into the island and its inhabitants must spend a few days hunting the big cats. Near the Fidji islands, they are attacked by thousands of natives lead by the Malay Capt. Sarol tempted by the treasures hidden in Billion City. Sarol is killed but so is Standard Island's governor. Then, the population doesn't manage to choose between the billionaires Coverley and Tankerdon for the position as the new governor so that both decide to rule one half of the island. As each of them can control one of the engines that impel Standard island, their contradictory decisions about which direction to give to Standard island cause the explosion of one of the boilers. Now Standard island starts to drift towards the zone of the tornadoes.
The review of this Book prepared by Daniel Staebler