Robert Louis Stevenson
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This classic Stevenson tale of treasure and pirates will live as long as people are fascinated by the sea and a romantic view of history. This book had a great appeal to me when I was a boy. Pirates were safely in the past, my family spent our summers on the water, and most years we visited an island where a marvelous family entertained young cruising people by having a pirate theme to their house and lives, firing off a cannon when boats when by, welcoming many people ashore, and telling marvelous stories, which when I got older I was stunned to find were mostly true about the history of their time on their island. All this had grown out of their devotion to this book and to young people.
This wonderful book introduces young people to a boy who must deal quite young with a old seaman who isnít perhaps just a retired sailor, and quite suddenly with an invasion of quite terrifying people looking for him. The story introduces children to the concept of the charming rogue who is by turns terrifying and ingratiating and the concept of people who take a wrong turn in life through weakness or ignorance and become either lost men or extremely evil ones.
Soon the young protagonist finds himself in the thick of a struggle between principled men and totally unprincipled ones over a treasure that may or may not exist and the ship that is the only way that any of them are likely to leave the island that they land on.
It is hard to go into much detail, for every turn of the plot is vital. Practically every scene has consequences, and there the book sets a remarkable pace.
Hollywood has several times tried to make this book into a movie and so far I havenít seen one get it right. Iím not sure how we ended up putting this in the general fiction category, but although it is intended for young people it is in all senses an ageless novel of the sea. If you have children or grandchildren and they havenít read it, you will want them to have a copy. (tm) $2.00