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The City Of Invention

The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney

The Ancestor Of All Children's Adventure Stories

Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson

The ancestor of all children's adventure stories, Treasure Island is an action-packed tale of blood-thirsty pirates and buried treasure. It begins when Billy Bones, an anti-social old sailor, comes to stay at The Admiral Benbow, the inn run by Jim Hawkins' parents. It becomes clear that Billy Bones is in hiding when he takes Jim into his confidence and asks him to look out for a one-legged man. In fact, it's a blind man who is his undoing, visiting the inn and serving Billy with the Black Spot, a ritual summons to meet his fellow-buccaneers for a reckoning. The summons is too much for Billy who has a stroke and dies.

Among his belongings Jim finds a map that clearly shows the location of buried treasure. When he shows the map to the local squire, Mr Trelawney, the squire decides to equip a boat and set out to find that treasure and Jim agrees to come along. Trelawney sets out to employ a crew, without much success until he settles on a man called Long John Silver for cook. Silver appears knowledgeable, friendly and cooperative and even offers to recruit the rest of the crew on the squire's behalf. Unfortunately,Silver is really a notorious pirate and the very man from whom Billy Bones had been hiding; and as they draw near to the end of their voyage Silver leads a mutiny in which Jim Hawkins and his friends look very likely to lose their lives.

Treasure Island bursts into action from the opening chapter and thereafter follows a series of cliff-hangers, twists and nail-biting escapes. It may have been written a long time ago but it's as good as any Hollywood action-movie. Once I started it, I just couldn't put it down.