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The story is of a group of men travelling to the Amazon rainforest to prove or disprove one of the traveller’s belief that an untouched area there houses prehistoric beasts. The party consists of the journalist, two scientists (one being Challenger, whose belief they are seeking to prove or disprove) and a sportsman/renowned explorer. The book is written in the form of letters by the journalist, Malone, to his editor.

I didn’t feel as if there was much development of the characters in the book, but I felt it was a fantastic story and must have been amazing to the readers of that time with plenty of tension-building particularly as the party travels across the Amazon and on the plateau where they discover the dinosaurs. I did think it seemed a little over-simplified, and I found this a shame as I felt it could have been done in much more depth and detail and been a more involving and exciting story. I imagine it was this book that inspired Michael Crichton’s story, which does have the tension and detail and depth that I craved, but perhaps I only felt this because I’d read Crichton’s book first and I was looking at Conan Doyle’s book with more modern eyes.

I also found myself disappointed with the inconsiderate actions taken by the characters with no thought of how their actions may have been interfering with the ecosystem and pattern of life there, and particularly with the killing that they do, eg basically wiping out the entire race of Apemen with no thought as to whether this was a right or wrong action; even though the Apemen seem to be preying on the Indians, the loss of the Apemen could have a catastrophic effect on the delicate balance of life on Lost World. I also felt uncomfortable with them killing and eating the dinosaurs; obviously they had to survive, but it just seemed throughout that the group didn’t solely observe but that they interfered and affected things with no consideration of the consequences. Again, maybe this is modern eyes judging a book and themes from another time, and in 1912 when the book was written perhaps humans’ effect on the planet and the species within it were not so widely thought about as today.

It was an enjoyable read and I very much admire the idea and recognise it as a brilliant story, but personally I think Conan Doyle was better with Sherlock Holmes stories.