A Prequel to Treasure Island
Email this review


Prequel imaginatively addresses questions Treasure Island left unanswered.

Why would pirates, known for living in the moment, bury a vast fortune? And how did Long John Silver lose his leg? First-time author Drake elaborates on clues in the original novel to offer back stories of John Silver, captured by a pirate captain, and the dreaded Jack Flint, a navy officer turned mutineer. The storytelling moves quickly, if at times more elliptically than necessary. Flint is flummoxed when Silver, a born leader, rescues him from certain defeat and then sets him up as captain of Silver’s ship. Silver’s one shortcoming is that he cannot navigate at sea, a flaw that erodes his self-confidence to such a degree that he relinquishes the command that ought to be his. The two forge an alliance so successful that the Walrus, under their cooperative command, amasses a great fortune. Silver, ever insistent that they operate not as mere pirates but as “Gentlemen of Fortune,” moderates Flint’s sadistic proclivities and proves more effective in leading men. Enter the beautiful runaway slave Selena, who once rebuffed Silver. Flint takes her onboard as his “ward,” despite the sailors’ credo that women are bad luck at sea. Discord soon rankles as Flint endeavors to bury the pirates’ amassed fortune in a place secret from all living men save him. Silver argues that they would do better taking their treasure to Savannah, but Flint wins the debate over the treasure’s fate. Silver takes command of a captured vessel, taking half the Walrus crew with him, and the two ships converge on Treasure Island to bury the loot. But while Flint prevails with his plan, Silver gains Selena’s love. The showdown at sea between these erstwhile friends builds to a spectacular crescendo. Drake vigorously recounts bloody exploits and savage adventures, updating Stevenson with the addition of sex and violence, not to mention the pirates’ own highly creative profanity.

No children’s story this, but appealing to adult readers with fond memories of the original.

Pub Date: May 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4165-9275-4
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2009