Shelf Control #116: Silver (Return to Treasure Island) by Andrew Motion

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Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!


Title: Silver: Return to Treasure Island
Author: Andrew Motion
Published: 2012
Length: 416 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

A rip-roaring sequel to Treasure Island—Robert Louis Stevenson’s beloved classic—about two young friends and their high-seas adventure with dangerous pirates and long-lost treasure.

It’s almost forty years after the events of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island:  Jim Hawkins now runs an inn called the Hispaniola on the English coast with his son, Jim, and Long John Silver has returned to England to live in obscurity with his daughter, Natty. Their lives are quiet and unremarkable; their adventures have seemingly ended.
But for Jim and Natty, the adventure is just beginning. One night, Natty approaches young Jim with a proposition: return to Treasure Island and find the remaining treasure that their fathers left behind so many years before. As Jim and Natty set sail in their fathers’ footsteps, they quickly learn that this journey will not be easy.  Immediately, they come up against murderous pirates, long-held grudges, and greed and deception lurking in every corner. And when they arrive on Treasure Island, they find terrible scenes awaiting them—difficulties which require all their wit as well as their courage.  Nor does the adventure end there, since they have to sail homeward again…
Andrew Motion’s sequel—rollicking, heartfelt, and utterly brilliant—would make Robert Louis Stevenson proud.

How and when I got it:

I bought this book two years ago, after (finally!) reading the original Treasure Island for the first time.

Why I want to read it:

I really enjoyed Treasure Island, and was looking for a way to continue the adventure when I stumbled upon a recommendation for this book. It does sounds like fun, and I’m looking forward to seeing if the author can capture the flavor and excitement of the original!


Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments!
  • If you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!














Take A Peek Book Review: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

“Take a Peek” book reviews are short and (possibly) sweet, keeping the commentary brief and providing a little peek at what the book’s about and what I thought. This week’s “take a peek” book:

TI collage

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
(originally published 1883)


(via Goodreads)

Originally conceived as a story for boys, Stevenson’s novel is narrated by the teenage Jim Hawkins, who outwits a gang of murderous pirates led by that unforgettable avatar of immorality, Long John Silver. Admired by Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling, and (reluctantly) Henry James, the story has the dreamlike quality of a fairy tale. It has worked its way into the collective imagination of more than five generations of readers, young and old alike, gaining the power of myth.

The most popular pirate story ever written in English, featuring one of literature’s most beloved “bad guys,” Treasure Island has been happily devoured by several generations of boys—and girls—and grownups. Its unforgettable characters include: young Jim Hawkins, who finds himself owner of a map to Treasure Island, where the fabled pirate booty is buried; honest Captain Smollett, heroic Dr. Livesey, and the good-hearted but obtuse Squire Trelawney, who help Jim on his quest for the treasure; the frightening Blind Pew, double-dealing Israel Hands, and seemingly mad Ben Gunn, buccaneers of varying shades of menace; and, of course, garrulous, affable, ambiguous Long John Silver, who is one moment a friendly, laughing, one-legged sea-cook . . .and the next a dangerous pirate leader!

The unexpected and complex relationship that develops between Silver and Jim helps transform what seems at first to be a simple, rip-roaring adventure story into a deeply moving study of a boy’s growth into manhood, as he learns hard lessons about friendship, loyalty, courage and honor—and the uncertain meaning of good and evil.


My Thoughts:

For a fairly slim book (my edition had 190 pages), it sure took me a while to finish this classic tale of pirates, treasure maps, and treachery. Treasure Island wasn’t a stay-up-all-night, can’t-put-it-down read for me — but it was definitely entertaining and well worth reading.

It’s kind of hilarious, in a way, to read this quintessential pirate story, in light of Pirates of the Caribbean, Black Sails, and even Spongebob Squarepants, and realize that Treasure Island was written at a time when pirate stories weren’t clichéd yet. In Treasure Island, the guy with a wooden leg exclaiming “Shiver me timbers!” while a parrot perches on his shoulder isn’t a joke; he’s honest-to-blazes scary. Doubloons, pieces of eight, cutlasses, buried treasure, the black spot, pointing skeletons used as road signs — here’s where to go to find where they entered popular culture.

It seems practically silly to review a classic like Treasure Island. It’s a classic for a reason! But, bottom line: I’m glad that I finally dug up a copy and took the time to read it. It’s a fun, fast-paced adventure, providing a glimpse into a by-gone era of storytelling — and next time International Talk Like a Pirate Day rolls around, I’ll have something to think about besides these guys:

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or this:


or even my current pirate obsession:

Black Sails 2014


The details:

Title: Treasure Island
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
Publisher: Varied (available free for Kindle)
Publication date: 1883
Length: 190 pages
Genre: Classic adventure story
Source: Purchased

Thursday Quotables: Treasure Island


Welcome back to Thursday Quotables! This weekly feature is the place to highlight a great quote, line, or passage discovered during your reading each week.  Whether it’s something funny, startling, gut-wrenching, or just really beautifully written, Thursday Quotables is where my favorite lines of the week will be, and you’re invited to join in!
Treasure Island

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
(originally published 1883)

I’m feeling very piratey this week. Watch out! I make burst out in a sea shanty before I’m done…

I brooded by the hour together over the map, all the details of which I well remembered. Sitting by the fire in the housekeeper’s room, I approached that island in my fancy, from every possible direction; I explored every acre of its surface; I climbed a thousand times to that tall hill they call the Spyglass, and from the top enjoyed the most wonderful and changing prospects. Sometimes the isle was thick with savages, with whom we fought; sometimes full of dangerous animals that hunted us; but in all my fancies nothing occurred to me so strange and tragic as our actual adventures.

And there’s this little gem, which I’ll have to remember next time I need an indignant comeback:

“Sir,” said Captain Smollett, “with no intention to take offence, I deny your right to put words into my mouth.”

What lines made you laugh, cry, or gasp this week? Do tell!

If you’d like to participate in Thursday Quotables, it’s really simple:

  • Write a Thursday Quotables post on your blog. Try to pick something from whatever you’re reading now. And please be sure to include a link back to Bookshelf Fantasies in your post (, if you’d be so kind!
  • Leave your link in the comments — or, if you have a quote to share but not a blog post, you can leave your quote in the comments too!
  • Visit other linked blogs to view their Thursday Quotables, and have fun!