Jun 03

Treasure Island

Posted by Soliloquy in Books on CD

Unabridged Audiobook. 7 CDs – 7 hours, 25 minutes
Young Jim Hawkins lives a quiet life as the son of an innkeeper. This all changes when an ancient sailor takes up lodging at the inn. Jim is both horrified and fascinated by the captain’s bloody stories. When the old man dies without paying his bill, Jim must search the sailor’s one possession, a large sea-chest, for payment. He unknowingly pockets an old map from the chest. But Jim is not the only one interested … More >>

Treasure Island

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5 Responses

  • Treasure Island is perhaps THE classic pirate’s tale. Robert Louis Stevenson, the author, created a rich story of adventure and treachery on the high seas all seen through the eyes of a boy named Jim Hawkins. Jim starts off as the son of tavern owners in a humble little port village. When an old seaman stays at the tavern, trouble soon follows him in the form of a pirate crew seeking revenge. I will not give away any more specific plot points, but events move forward to a great treasure hunt, treachery, and a surprisingly engaging story for adults as well as children.

    Jim Hawkins is the hero of the story and he’s a good lad with a stout heart. Long John Silver is the real star, however, and his character is a fascinating character study in moral ambiguity… or perhaps a study in amoral perfection. The pirate language is good and thick but this edition has plenty of notes to help you decipher some of the references that have become too obscure for today’s readers. The plot moves along very briskly with no wasted scenes.

    In short, Treasure Island well deserves its status as a beloved classic. It’s a story of suspense and adventure that can be enjoyed at a child’s level, but has substance for adults as well. I would recommend without reserve it to virtually anyone.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  • How can you even review the ultimate pirate book of all time? I read it when I was 9 and loved it. I read it again when I was 34 and loved it again! (Actually, I read it several times between, as well.) Long John Silver is arguably one of the most Macchiavellian characters you will ever find between the covers of a book. (I’m mainly reviewing it to raise the average rating. Anyone who thinks this book is boring has to have a screw loose!) From the arrival of the mysterious Billy Bones, to the attack on the inn, to the sea voyage, to the mutiny, to the battle for the island, to the treasure hunt, even to the final fate of John Silver, this book is a stunning rollercoaster of suspense and adventure! I’d give it ten stars if I could.

    Here’s a bit of information you other readers might enjoy: the meaning of the pirates’ song–

    Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!

    The real-life pirate, Edward Teach (Blackbeard the Pirate) once marooned 15 of his men on a small island named Dead Man’s Chest. He put them ashore with no weapons, equipment or supplies–just a bottle of rum.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  • All four things mentioned above can be found at your fingertips with Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island.” Before Johnny Depp stumbled off of the Black Pearl, before Errol Flynn took us on swashbuckling journeys, and even before “Lucky” Jack Aubrey took to the water, Long John Silver and Jim Hawkins thrilled fans of high-seas adventure. “Treasure Island” tells the story of one young Jim Hawkins. It starts off in the simple setting of a family-owned inn where we are introduced to Billy Bones, an old seadog who has a secret. After a couple of visits from some strange characters, a confrontation occurs and a treasure map lands into the hands of Hawkins. From there, we set sail on the Hispaniola with Hawkins, the squire Trelawney, Dr. Livesey, the sea cook Silver, and a whole slew of pirates and scoundrels in general. All are after the treasure of Captain Flint, who graciously marked his treasure map with an “X” to show the way to the riches.

    This is a wonderful tale of intrigue, double-crossing, greed, and swordplay. Promoted as a children’s book, I’m sure that any adult will find this story captivating as well. Robert Louis Stevenson is a literary legend and deserves that honor based on this book alone. However, if you read this book and are interested to read more of Stevenson’s work, check out “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” “Kidnapped,” and “The Black Arrow.” He also wrote a number of traveling books which are also fun to read.

    Highly recommended.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  • I had already tried reading my copy of this book when I was far younger, but I was not as avid a reader as I am these days. Recently, parted from my copy, I picked up an old nondescript hardcover of Treasure Island at the library to complete the book in its entirety.

    I found the first half of the book highly enjoyable, one that I recalled warmly as I re-read it. But as the book progressed, I was astounded at how difficult the reading was becoming; the pirate slang and their use of strange metaphors obviously grew proportionate to the amount of pirates in the scene. In one of the few moments of humor, the hero Hawkins even says, “`Well,’ I said, `I don’t understand one word that you’ve been saying. But that’s neither here nor there[…].'” The dialects makes the book that much more realistic; in my mind, however, I wonder if children reading this book fully comprehend it, or were they simply smarter in the 19th century? After spoiling myself with easy modern thrillers, I had to hunker down and really concentrate my efforts in trying to understand the subtext. The rough slang slowed my reading down greatly, but increased my enjoyment. And, of course, having finally completed the book and knowing the true story, my re-read in a few years will be thrice as good!

    In 1881, while vacationing in Scotland, Stevenson painted an island with his stepson which became the inspiration for the novel. He soon wrote 15 chapters, and completed the rest in Switzerland at the rate of one chapter a day. It was finally published as an entire novel in 1883.

    Stevenson throws together goods that have become legendary in pirate lore: Pirates with fantastic names, like Captain Flint, Billy Bones, Black Dog, Pew, Israel Hands (based on the real-life member of Blackbeard’s crew), and the now-infamous Long John Silver, himself with a parrot on his shoulder; a single treasure map that has three red crosses (designating two piles of treasure, one pile of arms); a beautiful schooner that’s put through its paces; a 23 member crew (excluding Jim Hawkins, Doctor Livesey, and Squire Trelawney), most of whom become gentlemen of fortune; mutiny; double-crosses; the shanty “15 men on a Dead Man’s chest/Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum”; the notorious Jolly Roger; spirits, superstition, and lore; and even a skeleton or two.

    Treasure Island actually refers to the fictitious Skeleton Island—perhaps an inspiration for the children’s book The Secret of Skeleton Island (1966)—, a sweltering jungle in the day and eerily submerged in mists in the early mornings. A strange coincidence I found led me to some interesting finds. Stevenson named an anchorage point after the pirate Captain Kidd. In 1935, Harold T. Wilkins published a book entitled “New Facts about Mysterious Captain Kidd and his Skeleton Island Chests,” in which can be found one of Kidd’s treasure maps. Two years after Wilkins’s book was published a treasure hunter found an uncanny resemblance between this “Skeleton Island” and Oak Island in Nova Scotia, Canada. Oak Island’s impervious Water Pit is purportedly where Captain Kidd buried part of his treasure before being hanged in 1701 (the Pit is also the main inspiration for the 1998 novel Riptide). In a twist worthy of Robinson himself, despite Kidd’s map uncovering some of Oak Island’s mysteries, Wilkins eventually stepped forward to admit his maps were fabricated. But was Stevenson alluding to Kidd’s connection with Oak Island?

    Treasure Island is an adventurous classic I heartily recommend anyone to read. I personally advocate reading the book if you’re older, or re-reading it, to fully enjoy the environment created through the striking language. A fantastic aid in understanding pirate slang is the online Encyclopaedia Piratica. While you’re at it, go to any map engine and plug in the latitude and longitude found at the end of Chapter 6, “The Captain’s Papers,” to see where Billy Bones claimed booty!
    Rating: 5 / 5

  • I am dumbfounded by the reviews that my peers have given Treasure Island. This book is a masterpiece of children’s literature. It has everything one could hope for: action, intrigue, pirates, buried treasure… What more does it need? I, too, read the novel for my class, but it did not put me to sleep at all. Instead I couldn’t put it down and had to read by flashlight after my Mom made me turn out my lights. It was incredible. Long John Silver is a creepy guy! As for the other reviewers who are my age, I hope you adults do not judge my generation by their ignorance and unwillingness to accept anything without man eating dinosurs. Treasure Island is an excellent novel.
    Rating: 5 / 5

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