Book Review: Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson


We’ve all read it, hell, it’s an all time classic. In the pantheon of great Scottish authors, Robert Louis Stevenson holds a seat at the top table and in Treasure Island he gave us an all-time literary classic.

I first read the book maybe 20 years ago, then again ten years ago. My journey through time with Jim Hawkins and his shipmates says as much about me as it does technology. In 1991 I read a dog-eared copy from the school library; in 2001 it was £2 copy from Borders (gone, but not forgotten) and in 2011, it was a free eBook download on the iPhone. One of great things about iBooks is the out of copyright books that you can download for free: absolutely wonderful.

For those who somehow have managed to avoid Treasure Island, this is the book in which Long John Silver and his band of pirates appear. The one-legged buccaneer leads the mutiny of the Hispanola when on their way to the Isles of Treasure. Luckily for the ship’s captain, teenage cabin-boy Jim Hawkins, the erstwhile hero of the book, overhears the conversation from an apple barrel and warns the crew who are not in on the act. Thereafter follows page after page of breathless adventure and lots of “pieces of eight” from Silver’s parrot. Even prior to this point, Billy Bones’ appearance at the Hawkins tavern sets the young lad on a series of local adventures that are a precursor to what comes next.

Reading the book today, I couldn’t help but reflect on how some of the description of the Caribbean island would have Dickie Attenborough questioning RLS’s research; but the point is the story is just so incredible and engaging that it is impossible not to be hooked. If you have never read this, shame on you.

10/10

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