Tom Ayrton

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Tom Ayrton
Voyages Extraordinaires character

'The Children of Captain Grant' by Edouard Riou 086.jpg

First appearance Les Enfants du capitaine Grant (1868)
Last appearance L'Île mystérieuse (1874)
Created by Jules Verne
Gender Male
Occupation Quartermaster
Nationality Scottish

Tom Ayrton is a fictional character who appears in two novels by French author Jules Verne. He is first introduced as a major character in the novel In Search of the Castaways (1867–1868). He then reappears in a later novel, The Mysterious Island (1874), in which his fate, left unknown at the ending of the previous novel, is resolved, and during the course of which his character undergoes change and achieves a redemption. [1] [2]

Jules Verne French novelist, poet and playwright

Jules Gabriel Verne was a French novelist, poet, and playwright.

<i>In Search of the Castaways</i> book by Jules Verne

In Search of the Castaways is a novel by the French writer Jules Verne, published in 1867–1868. The original edition, published by Hetzel, contains a number of illustrations by Édouard Riou. In 1876, it was republished by George Routledge & Sons as a three volume set titled A Voyage Round The World. The three volumes were subtitled South America, Australia, and New Zealand. As often with Verne, English translations have appeared under different names; another edition has the overall title Captain Grant's Children and has two volumes subtitled The Mysterious Document and Among the Cannibals.

<i>The Mysterious Island</i> novel by Jules Verne

The Mysterious Island is a novel by Jules Verne, published in 1874. The original edition, published by Hetzel, contains a number of illustrations by Jules Férat. The novel is a crossover sequel to Verne's famous Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and In Search of the Castaways, though its themes are vastly different from those books. An early draft of the novel, initially rejected by Verne's publisher and wholly reconceived before publication, was titled Shipwrecked Family: Marooned With Uncle Robinson, seen as indicating the influence of the novels Robinson Crusoe and The Swiss Family Robinson. Verne developed a similar theme in his later novel, Godfrey Morgan.



In Search of the Castaways

A Scottish able seaman, Ayrton served as quartermaster on board the three-mast ship Britannia, under the command of Captain Harry Grant. Differing opinions and extreme disputes with Grant led Ayrton to attempt leading a mutiny, the failure of which ended in his being expelled from the ship. Left behind alone on Australian shores, Ayrton learned nothing of the calamity that soon befell Grant's ship and crew.

Able seaman unlicensed member of the deck department of a merchant ship

An able seaman (AB) is a naval rating of the deck department of a merchant ship with more than two years' experience at sea and considered "well acquainted with his duty". An AB may work as a watchstander, a day worker, or a combination of these roles. Once a sufficient amount of sea time is acquired, then the AB can apply to take a series of courses/examinations to become certified as an officer.

Quartermaster army supply officer or naval rank

Quartermaster is a military or naval term, the meaning of which depends on the country and service.

Mutiny conspiracy among a group of individuals to openly oppose, change or overthrow a lawful authority

Mutiny is a criminal conspiracy among a group of people to openly oppose, change, or overthrow a lawful authority to which they are subject. The term is commonly used for a rebellion among members of the military against their superior officers, but it can also occasionally refer to any type of rebellion against authority figures or governances.

Teaming up with a band of escaped convicts, Ayrton began a life of crime around Australia, becoming a cunning highwayman and eventually a notorious gang leader under the name of Ben Joyce. Wishing to commandeer a swift ship in order to become a pirate leader as well, he took advantage of an opportunity supplied by the arrival of Lord Glenarvan's Scottish expedition searching for the castaways of the Britannia. Learning for the first time of the Britannia's foundering, Ayrton tricked the searchers into a fraudulent wild goose chase for the alleged location of the shipwreck, while at the same time conspiring with his gangmates to ambush and delay the expedition while he made a grab for their own powerful ship, the Duncan. However, a prodigious set of circumstances resulted in his treacherous scheme backfiring, and in his falling into the hands of the searchers and facing harsh justice for his crimes.

Highwayman Mounted robber who steals from travellers, an archaic term

A highwayman was a robber who stole from travellers. This type of thief usually traveled and robbed by horse as compared to a footpad who travelled and robbed on foot; mounted highwaymen were widely considered to be socially superior to footpads. Such criminals operated in Great Britain from the Elizabethan era until the early 19th century. In many other countries, they persisted for a few decades longer, until the mid or late 19th century.

Lord Glenarvan character from In Search of the Castaways by Jules Verne

Lord Glenarvan is a fictional character which appears in Jules Verne's novel In Search of the Castaways and then briefly appears in The Mysterious Island. He is a wealthy Scottish noble married to Lady Glenarvan.

Being in the position to bargain for his fate, Ayrton arrived at a deal with Glenarvan, saying that in return for truthful information about the castaways he will not be delivered into the hands of English justice, but rather be marooned as a castaway on the desolate Tabor Island. While his information proved of no value to the searchers, the missing castaways were miraculously discovered on Tabor upon arrival there, and as the deal had to be respected, Ayrton took their place and was left there for an indefinite period so as to expiate for his crimes.

The Mysterious Island

Ayrton reappears in The Mysterious Island, after castaways living on Lincoln Island learn of an abandoned man's presence on the neighboring Tabor and set out to rescue him. Finding him, they discover that, having suffered solitude and remorse for long years, he has eventually lost his reason and has become brutish. Taken to Lincoln Island, his mental health is finally restored thanks to the colonists' care and friendship. He reluctantly joins their group, suffering great remorse and feeling he is unworthy of living among honest men. However, he proves his worth and redeems himself by working for the common good of the group, and finally by remaining steadfast and loyal to his new friends when facing the temptations of his past lifestyle, during a pirate attack on the island. Thus reformed, he later returns to society with his friends.

In other media

<i>Mysterious Island</i> (1961 film) 1961 film by Ray Harryhausen, Cy Endfield

Mysterious Island is a 1961 science fiction adventure film about prisoners in the American Civil War who escape in a balloon and then find themselves stranded on a remote island populated by giant mutated animals. Based very loosely upon the 1874 novel The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne, the film was produced by Charles H. Schneer and directed by Cy Endfield. Shot in Catalonia, Spain, and at Shepperton Studios, Shepperton, England, the film serves as a showcase for Ray Harryhausen's stop motion animation effects. Like several of Harryhausen's classic productions, the musical score was composed by Bernard Herrmann. The film was remade in 2005.

<i>Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water</i> television anime directed by Shinji Higuchi and Hideaki Anno

Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water is a Japanese animated television series inspired by the works of Jules Verne, particularly Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and the exploits of Captain Nemo. The series was created by NHK, Toho and Korad, from a concept of Hayao Miyazaki, and directed by Hideaki Anno of Gainax.

Captain Nemo character created by Jules Verne

Captain Nemo is a fictional character created by the French science fiction author Jules Verne (1828–1905). Nemo appears in two of Verne's novels, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870) and The Mysterious Island (1874), and makes a cameo appearance in Verne's play Journey Through the Impossible (1882).

Related Research Articles

<i>Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea</i> A classic science fiction adventure novel by French writer Jules Verne

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea: A Tour of the Underwater World is a classic science fiction adventure novel by French writer Jules Verne published in 1870.

<i>Nautilus</i> (Verne) fictional submarine

Nautilus is the fictional submarine captained by Nemo featured in Jules Verne's novels Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870) and The Mysterious Island (1874). Verne named the Nautilus after Robert Fulton's real-life submarine Nautilus (1800). For the design of the Nautilus Verne was inspired by the French Navy submarine Plongeur, a model of which he had seen at the 1867 Exposition Universelle, three years before writing his novel.

Ayrton is a given name and surname. Notable people with the name include:

Ernest Legouve Reef phantom island in South Atlantic

Located in the South Pacific, the Ernest Legouve Reef, according to a statement of the International Hydrographic Bureau, "was reported in 1902 by the captain of the French ship the Ernest‑Legouvé. The reef was about 100 meters long and another reef was sighted near it." Although absent from the 1859 Admiralty Chart, the reef was recorded in "Paris Notice to Mariners 164/1122/1902." Krauth reports that it is situated at 35°12′S150°40′W.

Maria Theresa Reef phantom island

The Maria Theresa Reef is a supposed reef in the South Pacific ; it appears to be a phantom reef. It is also known as Tabor Island or Tabor Reef on French maps.

<i>Mysterious Island</i> (1941 film) 1941 film by Edouard Pentslin

Mysterious Island is a USSR film adaptation of the 1874 novel The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne.

<i>La isla misteriosa y el capitán Nemo</i> 1973 film by Juan Antonio Bardem, Henri Colpi

L'Ile Mysterieuse / La Isla misteriosa y el capitán Nemo / Die Geheimnisvolle Insel is a 1973 European film adapted from Jules Verne's novel L'Île mystérieuse. This version was directed by Juan Antonio Bardem and Henri Colpi and featured Omar Sharif as Captain Nemo. It was a recut from a TV series of the same year.

Mysterious Island is a Canadian and New-Zealand television series based on Jules Verne's novel L'Île mystérieuse. It ran for one season in 1995.

<i>20,000 Leagues Under the Sea</i> (1916 film) 1916 movie from Stuart Paton

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a 1916 American silent film directed by Stuart Paton. The film's storyline is based on the novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. It also incorporates elements from Verne's The Mysterious Island.

<i>Mysterious Island</i> (serial) 1951 film by Spencer Gordon Bennet

Mysterious Island is the 46th serial released by Columbia Pictures. It is an adaptation of the 1874 novel by Jules Verne, The Mysterious Island. As in the original story, which was a follow-up to Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, this serial is set in 1865. However, the serial has alien Mercurians as an additional set of villains and it has been labelled as a space opera version of the Verne novel.

<i>20,000 Leagues Under the Sea</i> (1985 film) 1985 film

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a 1985 Australian made-for-television animated film from Burbank Films Australia. The film is based on Jules Verne's classic novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and was adapted by Stephen MacLean. It was produced by Tim Brooke-Hunt and featured original music by John Stuart. The copyright in this film is now owned by Pulse Distribution and Entertainment and administered by digital rights management firm NuTech Digital.

Captain Nemo: The Fantastic History of a Dark Genius is a novel by Kevin J. Anderson, published in 2002 by Pocket Books. It is a secret history and crossover work, the central premise being that many of the things Jules Verne wrote about existed in real life as told to him by the real Captain Nemo.

<i>In Search for Captain Grant</i> 1986 film directed by Stanislav Govorukhin

In Search for Captain Grant is a 1986 Soviet 7-part television miniseries adaptation of Jules Verne's novel In Search of the Castaways directed by Stanislav Govorukhin. It was shot on the Odessa Film Studio and Bulgarian Boyana Film in 1985.

<i>The Children of Captain Grant</i> (film) 1936 film by Vladimir Vajnshtok

The Children of Captain Grant is a 1936 Soviet adventure film directed by Vladimir Vaynshtok and David Gutman and starring Nikolai Cherkasov, Ivan Chuvelyov and Yuri Yuryev. It is an adaptation of the novel In Search of the Castaways by Jules Verne. The film was popular on its release, and was followed in 1941 by another Verne adaptation Mysterious Island. In the 1860s, two Scottish children go on a global search for their missing father, the sailor Captain Grant.


  1. Taves, Brian (16 April 2015). Hollywood Presents Jules Verne: The Father of Science Fiction on Screen. University Press of Kentucky. p. 169. ISBN   978-0-8131-6114-3.
  2. Beumers, Birgit (2011). Directory of World Cinema: Russia. Intellect Books. p. 244. ISBN   978-1-84150-372-1.