An unusual report on the Treasure Island books

Tom Grimes

I have four (maybe the four) Treasure Island books. (If that statement doesn't sound somewhat cockeyed, it should!) I do, though. One is the copy that I have had for years by Stevenson. Another is Back to Treasure Island, by H. A. Calahan. The third is The Curse of Treasure Island by "Francis Bryan," supposedly a pseudonym for "a prominent British broadcast journalist." Published in 2002, it tells of Jim Hawkins making another trip back to Treasure Island at the age of 21.

The fourth book is Treasure Island by Justin Scott, published in 1994. To quote part of the book jacket, "The time is the 1950s. The place is New York's Long Island. And our hero, of course, is Jim Hawkins. Yes, after a series of skirmishes at his parent's Admiral Benbow Hotel, Jim does join Trelawney and Dr. Livesey (the sole woman) on the Hispaniola's voyage toward an island where a fortune in Nazi gold is hidden. And they will be joined by the cook-turned-ship's-captain, the man who lost a leg on Iwo Jima, the man with a parrot named Captain Flint – an ancient bird who in the midst of crying 'Pieces of Eight, Pieces of Eight' no doubt remembers the days of piracy..." Imitation, or maybe translation from the language of a century ago, is the most sincere form of flattery.

I have not read the two most recent books, but I would be very surprised if The Curse... is as good as Back to Treasure Island. None of them are that easy to find. (Tom didn't comment at all on the last of the four, which may be just as well. -Ed.)

Reviewed by Thomas Grimes, December, 2004

This article is ©2004 by Tom Grimes, and posted on All Things Ransome with permission.

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