Silver: Return to Treasure Island by Andrew Motion - review by Philip Womack

Philip Womack

A Rum Affair

Silver: Return to Treasure Island


Jonathan Cape 404pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

Treasure Island, that cornerstone of adventure stories, ends with a note of alarm. Though the ever-resourceful Jim Hawkins – so much better and braver than all his adult companions – has returned to England bearing gold, there is still a lot of bar silver and weaponry left behind. But he doesn’t mind: ‘certainly they shall lie there for me. Oxen and wain-ropes would not bring me back again to that accursed island.’ 

Which, naturally, leaves much room for conjecture. Andrew Motion takes up the loose ends for this rich and strange sequel. It’s a lively account that can be read by teens, a sophisticated literary game, and a fable about the futility of seeking utopia. At the start of Silver, we see

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