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Jim Hawkins and the Curse of Treasure Island
By Frank Delaney
Regular readers will remember what an unexpected fan I became of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, back when I first read it a few years ago as part of the "CCLaP 100" essay series on literary classics; and with this being a Victorian-Age public-domain work, there are of course dozens of unofficial sequels floating around out there. One of those is called Jim Hawkins and the Curse of Treasure Island, an unusually faithful sequel that tries extra-hard to mimic the exact language and tone of the original, first put out about a decade ago by "Francis Bryan;" but as it's become clear because of a new reprinting last year, that's actually the pen-name of revered British man of letters Frank Delaney, a Booker judge and the literary director of the Edinburgh Festival who has produced a host of popular documentaries for the BBC over the decades, and who among other things is in the middle of doing a 25-YEAR PODCAST where he examines James Joyce's Ulysses one line at a time. So it makes sense that this homage to Stevenson would be unusually spot-on in its voice and subject matter, because this is what Delaney does, is treat classic literature very, very seriously; and I have to say, it was just as much a delight to read as the original, and feels very much like a lost sequel by Stevenson himself that maybe just happened to surface within the last few years. Granted, if you're not a natural fan of Victorian action tales, you can pretty safely skip this; but if you are, you should absolutely put this on your must-read list right away.
Out of 10: 8.5, or 9.5 for fans of Victorian thrillers