This energetic and compelling novel is, purportedly, Jim Hawkins’s account of the events that propelled him to return – ten years after the end of Stevenson’s novel – to Treasure Island and of the adventures that ensued after his arrival.
Bryan’s considerable debt to Stevenson is acknowledged throughout the book in the creation of several positive Scottish characters and in the name of the youngest of these, Louis. Jim’s affection for Louis’s mother provides the book’s romantic interest, while the mystery surrounding the boy’s father is a key element of the plot. Familiar characters reappear: Squire Trelawney, Ben Gunn and the irrepressible John Silver, now a respected gentleman of considerable wealth. The new journey is undertaken to find the notorious Joseph Tait, left to die on the island at the end of Stevenson’s novel. Tait’s survival and his rule of Treasure Island have resulted in the appalling carnage of the occupants of the ships he lured on to rocks. The charnel house, which is the cave through which Jim and Ben Gunn are dragged, houses, in addition to the skeletons and corpses of numerous unknown sailors, the remains of Jim’s newly murdered shipmates. Jim’s escape results in his being rescued from certain death by Tait’s aristocratic counterpart, Sir Thomas Maltby, who, ostensibly, is pursuing Jim as a fugitive from justice. Maltby’s confrontation with Tait, however, suggests that his motives for pursuing the narrator are altogether different.
Bryan’s novel is largely faithful to the genre of the 19th-century boys’ adventure story, the pace, tension and action complementing the Stevenson original.