The third in the rip-roaring adventure series of ‘Treasure Island’ prequels for fans of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and Flashman
When infamous 'gentleman of fortune' Captain Flint is captured by the Royal Navy and condemned to hang for mutiny and piracy, it seems that the secret location of his buried treasure will die with him. But Flint has an audacious plan to gain command of ship and crew before they reach London and escape the hangman's noose.
Meanwhile, aboard Flint's former vessel The Walrus, Long John Silver seeks one final prize before retiring from privateering. However his wife Selena has jumped ship to pursue a career on the London stage – only to fall into a trap – so Silver must give chase to save the woman he loves.
Once more Flint and Silver's paths are converging … and it will bring them a vast fortune or certain death.
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Praise for ‘Flint & Silver’:
‘Flint & Silver contains the essential ingredients to attract a worldwide following’ Western Morning News
‘An epic tale of friendship and treason’ The Sea
‘Swashbuckling adventure on the high seas doesn’t get much better than this. If you loved Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island as a kid — and who didn’t? — then you will absolutely love this not-for-kids prequel. John Drake writes beautifully, and you’ll be torn between savoring the words and quickly flipping the pages. Any favorable comparison to Stevenson or Patrick O’Brian is totally justified’ Nelson DeMilleFrom the Author:
Skull and Bones is the final novel in your trilogy of prequels to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. How have your characters changed as the series has progressed?
Long John has changed the most. It was originally my idea that he should be purely heroic: a mixture of Dan Dare and Douglas Bader. This because I admire heroes, believe we need them. Thus Silver was heroic in ‘Flint and Silver’. But having outrageously pinched Robert Louis Stevenson’s creation, I increasingly felt guilty that I wasn’t making Silver a bit more equivocal. Hence his slow descent – always under irresistible pressure – into murder and betrayal. Likewise, Flint initially sinks into the pit of psychopathic mania … but on occasion, through his obsessive love for Selena, and pride that once he was a naval officer … he nearly makes it back to humanity. But most dear to me, is Billy Bones’s slow redemption in Skull and Bones: his denial of Flint and his valiant interposing of himself between Flint and Selena, thus saving her when Flint would have inflicted horrors so spiteful, that I could not write them down. Well done Mr Bones!
Have your characters ever surprised you?
No, but Flint once did something that ‘I didn’t want him to do’ – if you will forgive this suspension of self-involvement. Thus he murdered Charley Neale in Pieces of Eight. Charley was his (and Silver’s) agent, buying their piratical cargoes and managing their business, thereby learning too much to be safe (to Flint). I wanted Charley to retire to a fine house in Dublin and enjoy some peace. Flint did not agree. Charley went over the side with a cut throat. In contrast to Flint and Silver and Pieces of Eight much of the action takes place in London.
What did you find most fascinating about life in London in the mid-eighteenth century?
Everything! It was the biggest, richest city in the world, growing fast towards a million people, with spires, domes, crescents and plazas, with theatres, libraries, steam engines and palaces. Yet no mains drainage, no running water, no gas or electricity and no better light than a candle. At night London was profoundly dark and very dangerous. Gentlemen went armed with pocket pistols and swords, there was no police force and there was ubiquitous, systematic, pervasive crime. And there were public hangings attended by colossal crowds – a grand day out for all the family and damn fine stuff for a novelist!
Several historical characters are brought into the action in Skull and Bones, including Dr Samuel Johnson. What inspired you to do this?
I was inspired by the fact that no writer can invent any plot better than historic truth, nor characters more fascinating than real ones. Most of my ‘invented’ characters are based on real people. Thus Flash Jack the Fly Cove, was inspired by a modern politician, and the best of luck if you want to guess which one. Moving on from politicians to decent, honest folk, there was no man more decent and honest than Dr Samuel Johnson, an enormous and wonderful man in every way, and whom I respect greatly. Thus Johnson appears, briefly in my book.
How faithful have you been to historical fact in your novel?
In all my historical books I am as faithful to historic fact as I know how to be. If I have made mistakes, they are just that: mistakes. Nobody’s perfect. Also, I cannot help repeating that the truth is so fascinating that there’s no need to depart from it.
What are you planning to write next?
I am working on a detective story set in Roman Britain with a brilliantly clever, but flawed Greek slave as the detective. The crime and the plot centre round a brutal Roman law which stated that should any one slave murder his master, then every slave in the household (in this case 400 of them) must be executed. The book exploits the peculiar plight of Greek slaves whom the Romans both respected for their learning, yet despised for being slaves … and being too clever by half. Beyond that, the plot for a fourth Flint and Silver book is in my mind. This would re-tell the story of the Jim Hawkins expedition to the treasure island, explaining what really happened, and dealing – on the way – with the love story between Dr Livesey and Jim’s mother … who Stevenson never mentioned was only in her early thirties and was an exceedingly lovely woman. And it wasn’t Billy Bones that was the roaring drunk. It was Jim’s father …
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