Around the World in Eighty Days was published in 1873 and features Phileas Fogg as the protagonist. Fogg, a noble Londoner who lived on Savile Row, had made a wager at the Reform Club, for £20,000 (worth over a million pounds in 21st century value) that he could travel around the world in eighty days. Fogg is a very careful and precise man who has just fired his manservant for bringing him shaving water that was two degrees colder than he asked for. Fogg has a new valet, Jean Passepartout, a young Frenchman, who is looking forward to a quiet life with Phileas.
Around the World in Eighty Days is Verne at his most fun – there was plenty of comic relief in the novel. He was able to use his own experience of recent travels to provide background for the narrative. The book was finished under a punishing deadline Verne set for himself – not unlike Fogg’s deadline for circumnavigating the world. The book was the most successful in terms of sales during the author’s lifetime, selling 108,000 copies before his death.