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Adventure lovers will find quite a different presentation in this sequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. For this is the story of Long John Silver, the "Bristol dog" who is hell bent on finding the legendary treasure, minus the romance and nobility of the original tale. For Silver makes no bones about it - and there are plenty of bones shed in stark brutality - he is a pirate, a thief, a man without scruples and thus a man who trusts no one else. In many, many ways Silver is more a realistic, exciting story because each character is true to his swashbuckling, irreverent form.
Betrayal is a moment away and self-serving survival is remaining wary of the motives and actions of every next man or woman. What stands out most notably in this version of the treasure hunt is the fascinating, individual characters who play very different parts in assisting Silver's search for the meaning of the codes that will assist in finding the treasure. Captain Black John is a violent, calculating and cynically humorous master who values Silver's cleverness but is not clever enough from eventually being destroyed by the man who has escaped death innumerable times. Peel educates Silver in reading and writing while claiming all the while he would as soon "gut" Silver at a moment's notice. Edward, the original owner of the mysterious Bible holding the clues to the treasure hunt, and Solomon are riveting characters with their own unique tale to tell of life abroad. Mary and Elizabeth, Bones, Billy, Jim Hawkins and so many more fill these pages with a conviviality and defiance that never loses the reader's pull deeper into the story.
What will the code, headpiece and word "Blood" reveal to the ever-sharp Silver and just what pirate adventures will fill his coffers to fuel his single-minded visionary journey to unimaginable wealth? The story is told when Silver's in a fever which loosens his tongue and intrigues his listener, who would love to know the secret so he may find the treasure after Silver is hanged, unless he escapes before that can happen.
Although no profanity fills these pages, which makes it a great read for young as well as older readers, Chupack is a master at conveying the late 17th Century language, pirates' life, and some relevant political and religious commentary as a filler to the tale. Chupack present's Silver's narrative in an easy, flowing yet riveting fashion, demonstrating a skill that will hopefully continue in future historical fiction ventures.
Well done, Edward Chupack!
Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on July 26, 2008