The quintessential adventure story that first established pirates in the popular imagination, Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island is edited with an introduction by John Seelye in Penguin Classics. When a mysterious sailor dies in sinister circumstances at the Admiral Benbow inn, young Jim Hawkins stumbles across a treasure map among the dead man's possessions.
But Jim soon becomes only too aware that he is not the only one who knows of the map's existence, and his bravery and cunning are tested to the full when, with his friends Squire Trelawney and Dr Livesey, he sets sail in the Hispaniola to track down the treasure.
With its swift-moving plot and memorably drawn characters - Blind Pew and Black Dog, the castaway Ben Gunn and the charming but dangerous Long John Silver - Stevenson's tale of pirates, treachery and heroism was an immediate success when it was first published in 1883 and has retained its place as one of the greatest of all adventure stories. In his introduction John Seelye examines Stevenson's life and influences and the novel's place within adventure fiction.
This edition also includes Stevenson's essay on the composition of Treasure Island. Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) was born in Edinburgh, the son of a prosperous civil engineer.
Although he began his career as an essayist and travel writer, the success of Treasure Island (1883) and Kidnapped (1886) established his reputation as a writer of tales of action and adventure.
Stevenson's Calvinist upbringing lent him a preoccupation with predestination and a fascination with the presence of evil, themes he explored in The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), and The Master of Ballantrae (1893). If you enjoyed Treasure Island, you might like Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, also available in Penguin Classics.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 240 pages, map
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 25/05/2000
- Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780140437683
- Paperback from £2.50
- Hardback from £5.25
- CD-Audio from £8.59
Showing 1 - 5 of 6 reviews.
Previous | Next
Review by thequestingvole
Treasure IslandTreasure Island is a great book and like many great books, grew out of a small act. Stevenson's step-son was drawing one day and his step-father looking over his shoulder, saw that he was drawing a map. They spent the day naming the places and colouring it. And from the map came the book.It is a simple story told by a boy on the cusp of manhood and therein lies its power. Jim Hawkins is a boy telling a story to other boys and his nature is reflected in the telling. There is no navel gazing or reflection in him, he doesn't agonize over killing or worry about the morality of taking buried treasure. Unlike his contemporaries in Victorian fiction, whose scruples often verge on the priggish, Jim's moral compass is personal, his loyalty to his mother and to his friends. His is a conscience rooted in the eighteenth century, his goals are clear and their simplicity and single mindedness drive the story forward.But even in this celebration of the 18th century love affair withlaissez faire capitalism, Stephenson finds a place for evil. It is a grinning, grubby, chatty evil, far removed from the starkly painted moral monsters of children's fiction. Long John Silver is a murderer, a pirate and a scoundrel, but he is also charming, capable and a leader of men. Jim enjoys his company despite himself. Though Jim hates Silver for his cruelty, he admires him for his daring as all boys admire those who defy parental or scholastic authority with panache. In some ways there is little to choose between Long John andJim, both pursue the treasure, Long John is simply willing to use brutal means to obtain it.The Jim we meet at the beginning of the novel is a boy, bound to his mother and weighed down by childish things. By the end, he has encountered dangers, both moral and physical, and survived. He has mastered new skills and entered man's estate. For the rest of us, reading Treasure Island could be considered a vital part of that passage.
Review by hansel714
"Fifteen men on the dead man's chest--Yo ho ho, and a bottle of rum!Drink and the devil had done for the rest--Yo ho ho, and a bottle of rum!"Sing the buccaneers from Treasure Island (and you thought it originated from Pirates of the Caribbean). Treasure Island is about an adventure of a tavern boy seeking, well, treasure. Unlike Stevenson's Jekyll and Hyde, I find myself engross in the story despite having read it as a boy in the abridged version. The sentences are really quite dynamic like: "One more step, Mr. Hands, and I'll blow your brains out! Dead men don't bite, you know." Like Oliver Twist, this is not a children's book. I have quite a difficult time knowing the nautical terms like dooty, coracle, skiff, schooner, yaw, catspaw, scupper, mizzen. But once you get that out of the way, there is blood, gore, violence, lies, deceit, duplicity. This is the original for Pirates of the Caribbean and much better.
Review by fothpaul
A smashing adventure. Everything you could want, pirates, treasure, betrayal and tropical islands.
Review by theboylatham
Five out of ten.
Stevenson's novel is narrated by the teenage Jim Hawkins, who outwits a gang of murderous pirates led by that unforgettable avatar of amorality, Long John Silver.
Review by jasonlf
Re-reading this was an absolute pleasure from the first sentence to the last. Or to be precise, listening the audiobook with outstanding narration by Alfred Molina.Long John Silver is one of the extraordinary characters of literature, at times he almost feels on par with the creations of Shakespeare and Dickens. His extraordinary physical and psychological aptitude, his ambiguous amorality, and the way in which he controls from a position of servitude. The narrator, Jim Hawkins, and his group are more cookie cutter cardboard romantic heroes, but still interesting and compelling. And many of the characters with walk on parts, like Billy Bones and the blind pirate Pew, are fascinating.The plot moves along briskly, although the terrors are considerably greater in the first quarter--before the mutineers declare themselves--and toward the end when Jim ends up back with the pirates. In between is a decent amount of fighting and straight up adventure, which is well told and interesting but hardly something that on its own would stand the test of time.Occasionally all of the pirate talk feels a little oppressive and cliched, but then you remind yourself that this is the novel that invented all of it. But mostly the language lends a strong scent of salty reality to this classic boys adventure novel.
Previous | Next