Flint and Silver: A Prequel to Treasure Island
There are writers today who have hitched their wagon to a classical star such as Jane Austen and based their stories on her original works. Some are more successful than others. With that in mind I was anxious to read Flint and Silver, a prequel to the beloved children’s classic Treasure Island.
It’s the middle of the 18th century, and piracy flourishes in the South Atlantic and Caribbean. This book explains many of the questions left unanswered in Stevenson’s story. It is entertaining and fast-paced, without too many nautical terms or jargon that can slow down the flow of a story of this kind. We are reminded time and again that there is no honor among thieves, yet honor floats to the surface now and again in the form of Long John Silver and his ship’s articles.
Silver becomes the unlikely friend and shipmate of the reviled pirate, Joe Flint. It’s the story of this strange relationship and much that led up to and away from their connection. We learn how Silver lost his leg, where the parrot came from, why men buried their treasure, and just how hard this life could be. We meet Selena, a beautiful runaway slave accused of murder. She is taken aboard the Walrus as mistress to Joe Flint and causes the first crack in the Flint-Silver friendship, for Silver is clearly smitten with her. The next problem arises when Flint insists they bury their newly acquired treasure on “The Island” and Silver vehemently disagrees.
The characters are so rich and well developed that it’s hard to choose a favorite. Joe Flint is so multilayered and complex and Silver is so honest and simplistic—they fail to realize how well they function as a team. Treasure Island was written as a children’s story, but Flint and Silver is clearly for adults.