Saturday, August 2nd, 2008
The Short Take:
Pirating was never so fun — or foul — as in this “autobiography” of Long John Silver. If you ever enjoyed a pirate movie, book, or song, this will be smooth sailing and fair skies for you from cover to cover. Aargh!
Ahoy, Mateys! What a rollicking yarn this tale be. All concerning the adventures of one Long John Silver, commencing with his earliest days to his ultimate journey. Aye, and all written in colorful pirate talk it be, too.
Yes, I know pirates were horrible people. Yes, I know we shouldn’t enjoy reading about their mayhem and murder. Well, too bad. This book was great fun and I enjoyed every page of it, murder or no. And, a goodly number of the pages did include a murder to two.
Of course, there is no real Long John Silver outside the Robert Louis Stevenson novel, Treasure Island. And while some other characters from that book also make an appearance, little of Stevenson’s book survives in this one.
In this first novel, Chupack expands upon the wily pirate Stevenson invented to create a true terror of the sea. But the writing style is so whimsical, you find yourself laughing rather than cringing… at least most of the time. Treachery and double-dealing abound. Not even Silver’s brief love interest is what she seems. And even that changes several times.
The pirate-style language is what makes this novel so delightful. You can hear the voices (mainly Silver’s) in your head as you read the words. Whether accurate for genuine pirate talk or not, it’s the style we have come to expect from our pirates, be they played by Johnny Depp, Douglas Fairbanks, or some other swashbuckling hero.
But Long John Silver — now there’s a pirate worth knowing and a tale worth telling. The story of his education, becoming a pirate, and rising to one of the most feared captains of the seas is wrapped in the mystery of a hidden treasure. Mysterious clues lead to various ends — false and otherwise. But it’s the boat full of adventures and the fleshing out of the most popular pirate in fiction that makes this book seaworthy.
I’ll be thanking Master Chupack for bringing us Silver’s true story. Long John always was my favorite part of Treasure Island. I bet he was yours too.
Want Some Plot?
The book opens with Silver held prisoner on his own ship. Confined to his cabin, he begins to write the story of his life. Pages are passed along to a cabin boy in bits and pieces, starting from his earliest days as a street urchin in Bristol, England.
Alongside the story of his life, Silver teases his captor with hints to the location of an immense treasure. Clues come from an old Bible Silver obtained early in his pirating career. Over the course of the novel, the meaning of these clues are revealed and revised, with Silver claiming to have solved them all and using that knowledge to torment his captor with dreams of unreachable, unbelievable riches.
Between Silver’s life story and the treasure hunt, this book is packed with adventures aplenty. And, while you might think you have it all figured out — don’t count on it. After all, we’re talking about Long John Silver here.
Interested in more about pirates? Look to the left and click on “More About Pirates from Chupack.” And, thanks to Chupack for letting me include them here.
Visit Chupack’s site about Long John at www.silverpirate.com