Treasure Island

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Treasure IslandTreasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Published: 1883
Narrated by: Neil Hunt

Pirates! Treasure maps! Long John Silver! Pieces of eight! Shiver me timbers! It’s the classic adventure story that lives on, not just through this original novel and the writers it influenced, but also through the continuous stream of direct adaptations that are still happening 130 years after it was first published.

The story begins in the family inn of young Jim Hawkins. An old drunken sailor, Billy Bones, takes up residence with them, and it soon comes out that he’s in hiding. The pirates in chase eventually arrive, and in the midst of the chaos of this encounter, Jim finds an oilskin in Bones’ belongings. It contains the details to the hidden treasure of the infamous pirate Captain Flint, and he’s soon off on the adventure of a lifetime, full of action and treachery and redemption and fun accents.

It’s not just the story that makes this a lot of fun; it’s the characters. They jump off the page (through the headphones?), full of life, but they’re also somewhat deep and morally ambiguous, which keeps you guessing and following along. My first introduction to Stevenson was with The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and in that the characters were all a bit stiff. That wasn’t the case at all in Treasure Island. This was helped along no doubt by Neil Hunt’s excellent narration. All of his voices were distinct and natural, and his Long John Silver was just fantastic.

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!

I’ve warmed up to Stevenson a little more now. I was just at a huge book sale today, and I unfortunately couldn’t find a nice copy of Kidnapped, but I will read that eventually.

5 thoughts on “Treasure Island

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  3. JaneGS

    I haven’t read Treasure Island in a long time, but I am really looking forward to rereading it later this year. It really is the definitive pirate story. I remember the bit about the Black Spot scared me silly. I think this would be wonderful in audio form–I’ll have to look for the version you listened to.

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