Phantom Islands

Dirk Liesemer / translated by Peter Lewis

‘An entertaining exploration of thirty islands that are no longer on the map. Liesemer recounts these tall tales with great clarity, and teases out the truth with charm and rigour.’
Malachy Tallack, author of The Un-Discovered Islands

‘Liesemer takes us through moments of anxiety, impatience, disappointment and excitement that the explorers must have experienced, coupled with geographical details and historical facts. Through his stories in Phantom Islands, he unravels the mystery behind their existence and the human thirst for discovery.’
Island Studies Journal 

‘[An] elegantly-produced, quietly quirky book’
Yachting Monthly magazine

‘A good read for curious, wandering minds.’
Historical Geography Journal


Since man first set out to explore the world the world, tales of mythical islands have had us enthralled. For centuries, sailors, monarchs, pirates and cartographers, believing in their existence, set out in search of these lost paradises and ice-covered continents.

This book tells the story of thirty such imaginary islands, from their supposed discovery to the moment their existence was last disproved. It is a compass for a journey of the mind and a chronicle of hubris and adventure, of our willingness to believe and our susceptibility to deceit.

Whether these phantom islands arose from a lust for wealth and fame or merely the impairment of alcohol or shortsightedness, the daring voyages undertaken in the name of discovery are epic tales of hope and ambition, recklessness and folly.

DIRK LIESEMER studied in Münster and Rennes before attending the Henri-Nannem School of Journalism.

PETER LEWIS has had careers in university teaching and publishing and now works as a freelance translator and author.

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