Friday, June 18, 2010

Pieces of Eight

Treasure Island is full of characters whose past is only hinted at. Chief among these is Captain Flint who buried the treasure and died in Savannah before the novel starts. British Author John Drake is writing a series of novels filling the back-story of these characters and answering such questions as how Long John Silver became a pirate and lost his leg, where Flint's treasure came from and why it was buried and how Pew lost his eyesight.

The first of these books I found was the second - Pieces of Eight. It and the first novel, Flint and Silver, are available through Amazon (currently Pieces of Eight is a Kindle-only edition). The next novel, Skull and Bones is coming.

So far I've only read Pieces of Eight but it was good enough that I have Flint and Silver ready to read next. While they are written as a series, it is fairly easy to read as a stand-alone novel.

Apparently, in Flint and Silver, Flint mutinied on an English navy ship full of treasure. It ended up on the island (known as Flint's Island) in the novel. Only Flint and Billy Bones know how to find the island.

There was a fight between ships commanded by Flint and Silver with Silver's ruined ship beached on the island and Flint limping off to gather a force and take the island and the treasure from Silver.

The novel follows the preparations the two make. Silver has a limited number of men and has to fortify the island against a likely overwhelming force. Flint is short on cash and has to convince others to sign on with him.

The narrative is different from Treasure Island. That was told in first person from the perspective of the boy, Jim. Drake's novels follow multiple characters so it is written in the third person with a number of nautical references that give it a period feel.

Anyone who has read Treasure Island has some idea of how things will turn out. Several characters will survive and escape but the treasure stays on the island. That still leaves a multitude of characters who are fair game to kill off including an entire tribe of Indians.

All of the characters are fully fleshed out and flawed somehow. Flint is not only a ruthless bastard but he has a little problem with women. Then there is Captain Danny - six foot four, a fierce fighter, and womanizer who is actually a woman. Silver is the most admirable character.

I may have to buy a Kindle just to follow the series.

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