Monday, June 29, 2009

Review of Porto Bello Gold, a prequel to Treasure Island

My review of Porto Bello Gold, by A. D. Howden Smith

Porto Bello Gold an alright story in its own right, but it is not very satisfying for the dedicated Treasure Island fan. I have read Treasure Island over and over since I was a young child, both abridged and unabridged as I got older. I can honestly say Treasure Island is my favorite book. Porto Bello Gold, while ok on its own, does not really do justice to the characters created by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Without revealing too much of either book, I'll say that in this book, Flint is not the character that Stevenson built him up to be. Ben Gunn and Darby McGraw are also not characterized in a satisfying way. Israel Hands is completely absent.

In some respects it seems as if the author took some of the locations and ideas from Treasure Island and worked backwards, and the result is sometimes too convenient. As vividly as he wrote, Stevenson left much of the past to the readers imagination, feeding and fueling it as only he could. Smith on the other hand seems to have felt to need to explain the origin of every unexplored detail. Some things are best left to the imagination (for example, how the stockade came to be or the identity of Darby McGraw). If anything, I would say the original Treasure Island should be read first.

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Long John Silver


Long John Silver, originally uploaded by Dunechaser.

Friday, June 5, 2009

June 5th - 7th: the Blackbeard Pirate Festival in Hampton, Virginia

More festival news, if you are going to be near Hampton, VA on June 5th, 6th, or 7th, the 2009 Blackbeard Pirate Festival is going down on the downtown Hampton waterfront.
In addition to a sprawling encampment of authentically decked-out buccaneers, the big dockside party features a constant schedule of living history skits played out in the downtown taverns and streets as well as on the decks of the ships moored in the Hampton River. Turn topage 6 for event information, plus a look at some of the attractions the festival has recently introduced to win the hearts of families blessed with little kid pirates.

from dailypress.com

Visit the Blackbeard Pirate Festival site for more details including directions and scehdules.

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Royal Navy Frees Pirates After Disarming Them

Apparently, the Royal Navy can only arrest suspected pirates if they are caught in an act of piracy. 10 heavily armed suspected pirates in skiffs we disarmed before being released:
“Clearly, with all the weaponry in the skiffs, there was an intent to commit piracy, but we hadn’t actually caught them in the middle of an attack so we had to release them.”

All the weapons and ammunition were confiscated and the ten men were piled into the larger of the two skiffs, provided with enough fuel to get them to the Somali coast and told to go home. Some of the fuel was then put into the other skiff and set on fire.

Read more at Times Online

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

2009 John Levique Pirate Days, June 12-14

The 2009 John Levique Pirate Days festival is coming to John's Pass, Florida (Near st. Petersburg / Tampa) on June 12, 13, 14, of 2009. There will be all kinds of events for kids, grown-ups and families including a pirate ball, costume contests, a Sea Traders Market, stage entertainment, a pirate ship invasion and sea battle and much more (check their schedule for times and details).

Click here for more info

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