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Flint and Silver

by John Drake


If anybody asks me what my favorite novel was as a child I would answer without hesitation—Treasure Island (Amazon US || UK). Whenever anybody writes a prequel or a sequel to this wonderful book (this is the former) I have to read it, and so this is no exception. In the original book we hear tantalizing snippets about life under Captain Flint, and what the pirates were like when they were a bit younger, as well as about that island. This book puts flesh on the bones, and tells the tale of what went before.

Treasure Island, for all its unique charm was a book aimed primarily at children, and this most assuredly is not. Some pirate novels make the mistake of making their characters seem too loveable, but this one does not make that mistake. Neither does it go too far the other way with all the characters, and ultimately this is a story about two people, Joseph Flint and John Silver. Flint is depicted as a handsome, dashing sadist with much verve and bold sweeps of the pen—he has his own plans for the vast treasure and they donít involve anybody else. Silver comes over as a younger, rather less memorable version of the man in the original (not the way he is portrayed in films—a la Blackbeard—I hasten to add) and he is certainly likeable. He wants to be a pirate in the buccaneer style, but was born too late. Billy Bones is very well depicted; Pew disappointingly barely rates much of a mention. Iím not alone I am sure in wondering what the sinister blind man was like before his brief appearance in the classic and I am still wondering. But there is to be a sequel to this prequel, called Pieces of Eight, so maybe I might find out then. Ultimately, this could be described as an adultís view of what might have happened before what we already know, and reads as a stirring sea adventure crewed with real-seeming pirates.

The Book

Harper (HarperCollins UK)
March 2009
0007268947 / 9780007268948
Historical Adventure / Caribbean etc
More at US || UK
NOTE: US edition is different
Quite gory and violent (it is about pirates after all)

The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2009
© 2009