Sunday, 20 March 2011

Treasure Island

After reading the fascinating 'Under The Black Flag' about the real history of pirates a month or two back I decided to re-visit Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Treasure Island' and what a tremendous read it is. I haven't read it since I was about ten years old and have it fixed in my head as a children's book, but it's a thoroughly enjoyable read irrespective of age, a real adventure yarn. All you need is an imagination and you're part of the adventure with Jim Hawkins, the good doctor and that wily old pirate, Long John Silver.

The book is the source of much of our pirate lore - pirates with parrots on their shoulder, buried treasure and maps with an X marking the spot - and a template for adventure stories. The characters are memorable and deftly drawn with a few phrases or descriptions and there they are standing before you.

Next will be a viewing of the Disney film from 1950 with Robert Newton as Long John Silver. I shall count the number of times he says 'Ar, Jim lad'.

The book must have something going for it since it's been around for over 100 years, been re-published umpteen times and made into films and TV series'. I read it on my Kindle but now I'll be on the look out for a nice hard copy, preferably with period illustrations.

"Fifteen men on a dead man's chest,
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!"

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