Treasure Island

An old sailor calling himself "the captain" but really called Billy bones comes to lodge at the Admiral Benbow Inn on the English coast paying the inn keepers son Jim Hawkins a few pennies to keep a look out for "seafaring men".

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Book title: Treasure Island

Author: Robert Louis Stevenson

Reviewed by: Arnold Agaba

An old sailor calling himself “the captain” but really called Billy bones comes to lodge at the Admiral Benbow Inn on the English coast paying the inn keepers son Jim Hawkins a few pennies to keep a look out for “seafaring men”.

After a visit from another man, Billy suffers a stroke and dies, Jim and his mother (his father had died a few days before) unlock the sea chest, finding some money, a journal and map. The local physician, Dr Livesey, deduces that the map is an island where the private flint buried a vast treasure. The district squire Trelawney proposes buying a ship and going after the treasure taking Livesey as ship’s doctor and Jim as a cabin boy.

Several weeks later, Trelawney sends for Jim and Livesey and introduces them to Long John Silver, a Bristol tavern keeper whom he has hired as a cook. They also meet captain Smollet, who tells them that he does not like the crew or the voyage as everyone in Bristol already know that they are going in search for Treasure.

After a few precautions the crew set sail for the distant land. During the voyage the first mate, a drunkard disappears overboard. Just before the Island is spotted, Jim overhears Silver talking with other crewmen and realises that he and most of the crew are pirates and have planned a mutiny.

After the ship is anchored, Silver and some of the others go ashore, and two men who refuse to join the mutiny are killed - one with a loud scream that everyone realises there can be no more pretence. Jim has impulsively joined the shore party, and now in running away from them he encounters a half crazy Englishman, Ben Gunn who tells him that he was marooned here and can help against the mutineers in return for passage home and part of the treasure.

Meanwhile Smollet, Trelawney and Livesey, along with Trelawney’s three servants and one of the other hands, Abraham Gray abandon the ship and come ashore to occupy a stockade. The men still on the ship, led by Coxswain Israel hands run up the pirate flag.

Silver and the others argue about whether to kill Jim and Silver talks them down. He tells Jim that when everyone found the ship was gone, the captain’s party agreed to a treaty whereby they gave up the stockade and the map. In the morning Dr Livesey arrives to treat the wounded and sick pirates and tells Silver to look out for trouble when they find the site of the treasure.

After he leaves Silver and the others get out with the map taking Jim along, eventually they find the treasure cache empty.

It is highly captivating and adventurous for young readers.

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