Keraban is a Turkish tobacco merchant living in Constantinople. He's conservative and very stubborn so when the city administration decides to tax the people who want to cross the Bosphorus, Keraban says that he won't pay a cent to come back home, just a few miles away, on the other side of the Bosphorus. He will journey by land around the Black Sea in order to come back to his mansion. Accompanied by his friend, the Dutch merchant Van Mitten, Keraban starts his journey which must last less than five weeks because the Turkish merchant must be back in Constantinole for the wedding of his nephew Ahmet with Amasia, the daughter of the banker Selim.
A few days later, Van Mitten and Keraban arrive at Odessa, a Russian harbor on the Black sea, and meet there Ahmet and Amasia. Ahmet decides to come along with the two friends to make sure that they will come back to Constantinople in time. In the meantine, Amasia is kidnapped by Captain Yarhud who acts in concert with Saffar, a wealthy Arab who wants Amasia to be his wife. A few days later, on the other side of the Black Sea, Yarhud's ship sinks because of a storm and Amasia is miraculously saved by Ahmet who happens to be at the right place at the right time. Now, Constantinople is just a hundred miles away, but Saffar hasn't given up the idea of kidnapping Amasia.
Jules Verne's book is mostly the description of Keraban's journey around the Black Sea, a journey in carriage through forests, swamps and other beautiful sceneries. It's also a journey filled with danger as Keraban and Van Mitten must cross at night a region filled with (little) volcanoes that explode in front of us or confront a storm that will completely destroy the cabin they hide themselves in.
This report prepared by Daniel Staebler