Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson

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Chosen by Suzy

Treasure Island features Jim Hawkins, an inn-keeper’s son, who becomes interested in a guest’s chest. Billy Bones is protective of the chest and concerned about the potential appearance of a one-legged man. When Billy mysteriously dies, Jim looks through the chest and discovers a treasure map. Jim gains access to the ship Hispaniola and along with Long John Silver and other colourful cast members they head off in search of the treasure, marked with an X on the map.

The book is narrated by Jim, who is a naive narrator: young, impressionable and though not stupid, he is being exposed to many new experiences and thus relays events and twists in the plot and character development in a lively and dramatic but simple manner.

Stevenson invented this world of pirates, maps, buried treasure, eye-patches and one-legged sailors after drawing a map for his stepson. It became elaborately filled with harbours and land formations, creating the perfect course for a treasure hunt, hence the setting being highly detailed in the book. Stevenson’s family had a history in lighthouse design and the author’s understanding of nautical elements and seafaring activities adds to the believability of the story.

Amongst the adventure filled pages are thematic constructions of good vs evil, and a coming of age story that sees our young protagonist mature after being involved in skirmishes and who must make plans to not only find the treasure but stay alive.

It was Silver’s voice, and before I had heard a dozen words, I would not have shown myself for all the world. I lay there, trembling and listening, in the extreme of fear and curiosity, for, in those dozen words, I understood that the lives of all the honest men aboard depended on me alone.

Despite this being a classic and the origin of the now widely used pirate stereotype, none of the freerangers had read Treasure Island before. Of course the story is known, and there have many iterations of it over the years but none of us had ventured back to the place where it all began. It was a huge adventure to read the book with young Jim Hawkins the perfect guide to bravely lead us through the perilous lands.


Published 1883
Cassell & Co
316 pages

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