Silver: My Own Tale as Written by Me with a Goodly Amount of Murder, a novel by Edward Chupack

Something about the fictional pirate Long John Silver seems to inspire absolutely fantastic titles. First there was Björn Larsson's Long John Silver: the True and Eventful History of My Life of Liberty and Adventure As a Gentleman of Fortune and Enemy to Mankind, an “autobiography” featuring the character, and now there’s Edward Chupack’s Silver: My Own Tale As Told By Me With A Goodly Amount Of Murder.

They both just roll off the tongue, don’t they?

As Chupack’s story opens, the infamous pirate Long John Silver is being held captive on his own ship, en route to his execution in England. He begins to record his memoirs, beginning with his boyhood as a nameless street urchin, tracing his rise through the pirate heirarchy under the command of Black John, and ending with his eventual capture by an unexpected adversary. Silver sprinkles encrypted clues about his hidden treasure throughout his narrative, hoping to tantalize his captor into releasing him. His account presents a very different view of the events in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island—but fans of the original book shouldn’t worry: Chupack manages to pack plenty of plundering, cannibalism, and murder into his 272 pages.

Readers will need some familiarity with Treasure Island in order to make sense of this alternate history, as Chupack is obviously more interested in exploring Silver’s voice and showing off his own cryptology skills than in coherently connecting the dots between his characters, their motivations, and the book’s many action sequences. Happily, his vision of Silver as a hugely charismatic (and slightly deranged) Scheherazade is compelling enough to carry the novel, despite a few awkward passages.
Posted by: Julianka


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