Part 1 - 1867

The novel starts out in Trieste where three Hungarian nobles, count Mathias Sandorf and his associates, Stephen Bathory and Ladislav Zathmar, are organizing a revolt to have Hungary secede from the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. During their preparations, their carrier pigeon is intercepted by chance by Zirone and Sarcany, two petty criminals. In the pigeon's message cylinder they find an encrypted message. Sarcany, the treacherous secretary of Silas Thoronthal, uses his position with Thoronthal to steal a decoder table, and they thus are able to decipher the message.

Meanwhile, Thoronthal, Sandorf's banker, had otherwise been contriving to appropriate Sandorf's money for himself. Upon seeing that a political conspiracy is underway, Thoronthal and Sarcany alert the police who arrest Sandorf, Bathory and Zathmar. A large reward is given to the the two informants for their "loyalty" - that is, each one gets one half of Sandorf's money.

The Austrian police takes Sandorf, Bathory and Zathmar to the castle in Pazin where they are sentenced to death. Waiting for their execution, an acoustic effect that transfers sound along the ceiling allows the condemned men to hear a conversation between the traitors. So now, instead of leaving themselves to their appointed fate, the condemned me decide to escape from the prison and to take revenge.

The three prisoners break the bars on the window, and Sandorf climbs through the window and starts to descend down the lightning rod which reaches to the bottom of the ramparts, but the police enters the cell and captures Zathmar. Sandorf and Bathory continue their escape, but then a bolt of lightning strikes the lightning rod and they fall into the raging torrent of the Foiba (i.e.Pazincica), which  takes them towards the mouth of the Pazinska jama (The cavern of Pazin) and the unknown underground. During their flight from the fortress they did not know where they actually were and so could not imagine where the Pazincica waters were going to take them.

Holding onto a tree trunk, Sandorf and Barthory are carried underground for six hours by the Pazincica torrent and finally the underground river brings them back to the surface at the mouth of Limski fjord. From there they walk to Rovinj where they find safe haven in the house of a fisherman, Andrea Ferrato. Unfortunately, they are betrayed to the police by Ferrato’s enemy, Carpena. Under a hail of bullets, the two ex-prisoners escape towards the seashore where Bathory falls and is captured. With bullets still flying around him, Sandorf jumps from the ledge of the high Rovinj cliff and into the sea. He disappears into the waves.

Bathory is taken back to Pazin castle where he and Zathmar are shot the next day. The fisherman Andrea Ferrato is imprisoned and it is not long before he dies, thereby leaving his son Luigi and daughter Maria orphans. Soon after, the children leave Rovinj. The banker Thoronthal and his collaborator Sarcany start a new life with their ill-gotten gains: Thoronthal goes to Dubrovnik and Sarcany to the gambling casinos throughout the Mediterranean.

Part 2 - 1882

The second part of the novel leaps forward fifteen years and starts out in Dubrovnik. A mysterious Dr. Antekirtt appears. He is a rich and renowned physician, as well as a top scientist with paranormal abilities. He can put people in hypnotic trances and control them, even at long distances. The mystery man is none other than Count Sandorf who is carrying out his revenge (he calls it "justice") on those who had betrayed him - Thorontal, Sarcany, Zirone and Carpena - and who caused the death of the other Hungarian revolutionaries. He does this from his fortress on the island of Antekirtta, in the Gulf of Syria. The fortress is almost impenetrable and is filled with advanced weaponry, including electrically-operated torpedoes and mines. He obtains as his collaborators the acrobats Pescadeo and Matifouo, plus the young Peter Bathory, son of the Stephen Bathory who had been executed in Pazin castle.

As Dr. Antekirtt, Sandorf travels about the Mediterranean in very fast electrical boats which help him, as does his fortress, when the neighboring island of Senoussi declares war on him. Of course, they fail in their attempt. In the last chapters of the story, we follow his adventures in such places as Dubrovnik, the base of Mount Etna in Sicily, the island of Malta, the islands fronting the Libyan coast, Monte Carlo, Gibraltar, as well as the Tunisian and Moroccan coasts.

The drama is very reminiscent of the Count of Monte Cristo (deliberately so on the part of Jules Verne as he says in his introduction) and is enhanced by the love story between Peter Bathory and Sava Thorontal, daughter of Silas Thorontal, who had betrayed Peter's father. Sava later is revealed to be the kidnapped daughter of Mathias Sandorf!

Prima Parte - La conguira di Trieste

Mathias Sandorf è un romanzo di Verne pubblicato nel 1885. Nel 1887, ne venne tratto un testo teatrale in cinque atti. È un romanzo di avventure di vaste proporzioni, che propone la vicenda di un nobile ungherese che lotta per la causa dell’autonomia del suo Paese dall’Impero Asburgico e che progetta – da Trieste – una congiura per provocare un’insurrezione nazionale. La scoperta della congiura da parte della polizia austriaca avviene grazie alla delazione di uomini avidi e senza scrupoli. Mathias Sandorf e i suoi compagni vengono imprigionati nel castello di Pisino. Ma la vicenda continuerà ancora, e a lungo, perch√© Mathias Sandorf riesce a fuggire. Sotto altro nome, combatterà per risarcire le famiglie dei suoi compagni e per punire i colpevoli del tradimento. Da Pisino e dall’Istria, la storia continuerà in Dalmazia, nel Mediterraneo, sulle coste nordafricane. E la giustizia avrà modo di trionfare. [Tratto da Jules Verne. La congiura di Trieste da Mathias Sandorf, La Biblioteca del Piccolo (Trieste, 2004)]

In questo volume viene proposta la prima parte del poderoso romanzo, che consta di cinque parti. Ma questa prima parte (intitolata redazionalmente, nella prima edizione triestina del 1970, La congiura di Trieste) già sembra costituire – di per se – un’opera complessa, nella quale l’intera macchinosa vicenda delle cinque parti viene impostata compiutamente. Ed è una parte suggestiva anche per le interpretazioni acute e incisive che Jules Verne - che era stato nel Mediterraneo e nell’Adriatico con il suo yacht – dà di Trieste, dell’Istria, della loro situazione e della loro storia. Il testo di questo libro è quello proposto nell’edizione del 1970 per le edizioni “La Cittadella”. Con stralci - in appendice - di un diario di viaggio di Verne.

È una rarissima immagine del battello, San Michel III, con il quale Giulio Verne percorse in lungo ed in largo l'Adriatico lungo le coste dell'Istria e della Dalmazia. Da quanto si può vedere (il comignolo) era anche dotato di motore.

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This page compliments of Marisa Ciceran and Pietro Valente

Created: Wednesday, February 09, 2005; Last updated: Thursday, November 24, 2011
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