The Land of Mist (Professor Challenger, #3)

ISBN: 1425000134
ISBN 13: 9781425000134
By: Arthur Conan Doyle

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About this book

This is the third and last novel in the "Professor Challenger" series, and is a marked departure from the previous tales. In this novel Challenger becomes a Spiritualist, and the novel strongly promotes the concept of Spiritualism. A belief strongly adopted by the author towards the end of his life.This novel was first published in a serial form in "The Strand" magazine July 1925-May 1928.

Reader's Thoughts

George Heinz

A big disappointment. It lacks any of the excitement of the other professor challenger stories, in fact challenger himself hardly features. Instead it appears to be little more than a thinly veiled defence of spiritualism.


I read this one as part of the Professor Challenger series when I was going over the early history of Science Fiction a couple of months ago, and I managed to soldier through out of sheer stubbornness. To say that it was awful would be putting it mildly. Yes, I understand the circumstances in which this book came to be written, and I realize that it was an attempt by the author to promote his most treasured beliefs, but it basically slaughters the characters and makes the weaknesses of Conan Doyle's style painfully apparent.


This is the one stinker SACD has. It's written in third person, which takes away much of the character and scenery descriptions. It felt more like propaganda with known characters vaguely scattered throughout. Summerlee is dead. Challenger's wife is dead. Challenger has a daughter, who is the love interest of Malone, not that anything is ever mentioned about it, which is another reason it felt more like propaganda. At times I wondered if it was really him who wrote it, it was that unlike him and his style.Since Summerlee is dead, and Roxton doesn't come in until halfway through, and the third person telling, I felt like the "dream team" had fallen apart. Years had gone by, as Malone is now "fully grown" (even though he'll always be the naive "kid" to me) and Challenger's got some grey going on.There isn't the sense of adventure and life and death uncertainty anywhere in this story. Absolute 180 from The Lost World. Spoiler alert, Challenger is a believer by the end. I was very disappointed. That's about all I can say without reiteration. I don't recommend this for anyone who is looking for the continuation of the "dream team".


So… why two stars?Well, I gave three stars to “The Lost World” and “The Poison Belt” and I cannot, in full conscience, rate “The Land Of Mist” as highly as those two. You see, Challenger helped those books a lot (in fact I very much defend he was the only reason why “The Poison Belt” actually worked), but here… well… Challenger is not only almost absent, presented as a side character, his nature is also very much changed to suit Doyle’s needs. That is a big no-no. In fact his characterization directly contradicts what we learn in the other books, where he is the passionate proponent of very unorthodox theories, including a very definite and amusing argument in “The Poison Belt” about the limitations of materialism. Suddenly, a few years later, he appears as a fully-fledged materialist? For no given reason? I don’t get it. My hypothesis is that he was possessed by Sumerlee’s ghost or something, because the Challenger I know is a brilliant scientist, yes, stubborn as everything, all right, but also remarkably open-minded and willing to embrace the most farfetched views you can imagine… Challenger as the voice of “conventional science” simply does not work.And then there is the panfletist side of it all. Yes Doyle, I get it, you are a spiritualist now… good for you. But stop bashing me over the head with it and write a good, proper story, all right? With something at stake? Anything? Please? You may hide spiritualist propaganda in it if you must, I won’t mind, but PLEASE LET US HAVE A STORY! And no, a string of descriptions of séances and debates, no matter how well written and interesting they might be at times, does not make for a very compelling read. I’m sorry, sir, but this simply does not cut the ethereal mustard.

Jeff Stiles

Even though I don't agree with the point of this book, I think that Doyle was a good storyteller. I highly recommend the Professor Challenger stories.


I am not quite sure how this got on my reading list - it has been on there for about four years. I had a difficult time finding the book in print or at the library, but was able to download it onto the Kindle. Of course Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous character is Sherlock Holmes (which I have read the entire canon a couple of times), but this book is about his other adventure series character, Professor Challenger (The Lost World, The Poison Belt, etc). I have read "The Lost World" and found it an enjoyable read and I sort of thought this book would be in the same ilk. However, The Land of Mist was written ten years later (after WW I). Doyle lost his son, brother and two nephews during WW I and become very interested in spiritualism. So even though this book was about Professor Challenger, his daughter Enid, her fiancé Edward Malone, and his friend from Lost World, Lord John Roxton, it was mostly and exposé of Doyle's experiences and believes with Spiritualism. Many of the historical characters included in the book I had read about in the non fictional work about the American Psychological Association and the British Psychological Association titled “Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death” that was written by Deborah Blum. That may have link to The Land of Mist. Interesting read, but almost read as a missionary tract for spiritualism.


Fascinating stuff.


I have not read any of the other books with Professor Challenger in them, but looking at other reviews it seems that this is an anomaly in the series. Really, it read more like a thinly-veiled attempt at converting others to spiritualism. Overall, it's not too bad a read, but it still is a far cry from how Conan Doyle usually writes.

Jack Gibson

Confusing for me when I read this one. I didn't finish it as personally Doyle's turning to spirituality was not of appeal...I will just have to keep the happier memories of reading the previous too books in the Professor Challenger series and try not to dwell on the direction Doyle took him in.


Marco el libro como finalizado porque efectivamente, he terminado con él. Apenas he leído la mitad, pero ha sido más de lo que soy capaz de soportar, la experiencia me ha irritado bastante.La editorial Jaguar lo editó hace unos años, olvidado desde hace decenios en el mercado español. No estoy muy seguro de como de accesible está en el extranjero, pero es perfectamente comprensible que muchos aficionados a Doyle tiendan a olvidarlo.Arthur Conan Doyle no solo fue el creador de Sherlock Holmes o el Profesor Challenger. También se pasó buena parte de su vida defendiendo públicamente el espiritismo, en ocasiones de maneras realmente polémicas. No era un timador, ni mucho menos, pero si era un ferviente creyente en todo lo que tenía que ver con lo paranormal. Su imagen de cara al publico se vio ampliamente perjudicada por sus declaraciones fuera de tono, y su aparente obsesión con el tema. No me extraña que sea una faceta suya que muchos tienden a apartar."El país de las brumas" hay que tomárselo desde ese punto de vista. La novela es una justificación de las prácticas espiritistas, supuestamente basada en las experiencias personales del propio Doyle. Hay dos razones fundamentales por las que no he sido capaz de soportar el libro:1.- El protagonista es el insigne Profesor Challenger (El mundo perdido). Es un golpe bajo en toda regla usar a un tipo tan inteligente y querido, para estos menesteres. En el prólogo se comenta que Doyle se planteó usar al mismísimo Sherlock Holmes, cosa que habría sentado peor aún a sus fans. Por suerte durante la mayor parte de la novela el peso recae en su amigo Edward Malone, que se introduce en el tema por motivos profesionales, para progresivamente convertirse en un autentico creyente en la causa espiritista.2.- No hay sentido crítico ninguno. Se compone de una serie de situaciones creadas para convencer a Challenger, y al lector de paso, de la veracidad de todo lo que se expone. Conforme se va avanzando en la narración, uno puede evitar la sensación de que esta leyendo un simple panfleto obvio y bastante descarado. Incluso el habitual buen escribir de Doyle se ve notablemente empobrecido.Sabía más o menos a que me atenía cuando lo empecé a leer... pero confiaba en cierto buen hacer por parte de su autor, que por norma general suele gustarme enormemente. El resultado es indigno y bastante irritante.Solo podría recomendárselo a aquellos interesados en esta peculiar faceta del autor, y que quieran conocer sus justificaciones y puntos de vista sobre la temática. En cierta forma tiene bastante de novela autobiográfica. Como historia en sí, bajo mi punto de vista, no vale nada.

Dave Turner

"As you can see, like all newcomers to a religion, he was intoxicated by his conversion, and, in headlong rush to join, he went too far."Victor Hugo, Les Miserables.Marius was the subject of the above quote but it kept springing to my mind while I was reading 'The Land of Mist'. Arthur Conan Doyle wrote this (the third book to feature the great Professor Challenger) after great bereavements and whilst he was increasing his involvement and devotion to spirituality. Doyle is a great story teller and snippets of that still shine through from time to time here, but that is only the real positive I can conjure from this book. Written in third person unlike the other outings of Professor Challenger's existence, this feels like a very different book and there's no real reason for that character to be used here as we see so little of him he's almost redundant. But the real failing of this book is that it simply comes across as anti-science pro-spirituality propaganda. Conventional science, which Doyle has praised in the past, is slandered and painted as an incredibly negative and misguided vice whilst seance's are passed over as real fact. While this book was written at another time when there could have been doubts to the fraudulence of "professional" mediums, that it's thankfully not the case today and while I dislike judging an old book on today's standards in some cases, when certain practices are put on pedestals, it's sadly unavoidable. DT 22/02/2013

J.A. Andrade

No lançamento da segunda parte da série Sherlock Holmes pela BBC, li tantas excelentes críticas sobre a série e fiquei chateado por não ter assistido nenhum capitulo. E também nunca havia lindo nada de Conan Doyle, o que me despertou a curiosidade. Primeiro passo foi pesquisar um pouco sua biografia, e descobri, entre muitas coisas interessantes, que ele foi um estudioso do espiritismo, especialmente apos o falecimento de sua amada mulher. The Land of Mist é um livro que ele escreveu sobre pesquisas e experiencias relacionadas a espiritualidade. Portanto, um livro recomendado para você que é um estudioso do autor ou para você que tem um interesse especial no assunto.

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