Treasure Island Summary

One of the most favourite adventure book of several generations still as thrilling as it was when it was written. The romantic of sea adventures still tempts the young minds and inspires the older people to remind themselves about the adrenaline and courage of searching for treasures, fighting pirates and winning against all odds thanks to sheer witness and willpower.

The protagonist of the story is a young boy, Jim Hawkins - a teenager by modern standards but almost a young adult at that time. He lives at the seashore, in the inn his family owns named the Admiral Benbow. Jim’s father is seriously ill and the boy has to take all the man’s responsibilities to his own shoulders. The things go smooth until a mysterious visitor comes to the door. He is completely drunk, loud and intimidating, immediately demands to name him “Captain” (we can see where some habits of Jack Sparrow - Captain Jack Sparrow - were borrowed for further hilarity!) and pays for the room and rum. He gives Jim some coins, ordering him to look for a “seafaring man” asking for Billy Bones and closes himself in the rented room, drinking the enormous amounts of rum (Jack Sparrow, anyone?).

Soon he has his first heart attack. Luckily for him, the family doctor who regularly visits Hawkins Jr. is around to help him. But after the first aid Dr. Livesey warns the old captain that he has to either stop drinking completely or die soon from another heart attack. Surely Billy Bones resumes consuming bottles and bottles of rum as soon as he is able to walk away from his bed.

Despite the best efforts of Dr. Livesey, Jim’s father passes away. But the Hawkins family has the time to mourn only for several days: soon one of the “seafaring men” shows up in front of their door and gives a “black spot” to Billy Bones. When Billy receives it, his fear, combined with alcohol, cause the second heart attack, this time a fatal one. Trying to understand the meaning of this mysterious meeting, Jim hastens to the room of the deceased and opens his sea chest, finding a logbook and a map of an island there. He also tries to remember what seemed to be the gibberish of a drunkard: Bones told that he was Flint’s right hand and second-in-command. Also he ordered Jim to beware of the one-legged man, because even despite everyone at the sea was afraid of a notorious pirate captain Flint, Flint himself was scared of that mysterious one-legged man.

Before he manages to figure out at least something, Jim hears footsteps from the outside and understands that the men the deceased Billy Bones was so afraid of came for him and they are really dangerous. He and his mother have time to take only the map and the logbook and ride away for their dear lives, their family inn - with everything they possessed - burning to ashes behind their backs.

Having nowhere to go, Jim and his mother decide to come to the house of Dr. Livesey, who is not only their physician but also a family friend. The doctors lets them in and orders to prepare meal and room for them to let the poor souls rest. In the meanwhile he asks Jim about everything the boy remembers and borrows the map and the logbook to investigate what exactly drove the pursuit of so angry men to the Admiral Benbow.

On the next day Dr. Livesey, who already deduced that the cross on the map shall indicate the place where the treasures of Captain Flint are hidden, invites another friend of his, Squire Trelawney, a very rich though airhead man who would most likely get excited and finance the adventure, hiring the ship and the crew. As the doctor predicted, Trelawney indeed gets incredibly excited and is ready to start their journey as soon as possible. He departs to find the ship and hire the sailors.

In the meanwhile Dr. Livesey makes the rest of the preparation. He also offers Jim to join the adventure and the boy agrees immediately, much to his mother’s anxiety. But still they have no other options: the treasure is their chance to rebuild the inn and not be left in poverty. When Jim and the doctor come to the port, they see their ship, Hispaniola and meet her captain named Smollett. Captain Smollett is extremely displeased with the choice of the crew, he says that they all look like potential hangmen and criminals and he has a bad feeling about it. Squire Trelawney gets offended, he chose the crew, after all! Actually it wasn’t he. He just managed to find the right man: a cook in one of the port inns, who once served on the ships and still had connections. That man promised to help Trelawney with the crew if the squire takes him too. That man, named Long John Silver, was an experienced cook, still very able-bodied despite his age and a peg leg and a very sympathising and outgoing person in general. He immediately won Trelawney’s trust, so the squire roughly shuts up the grumpy captain, reminding that he is the client and he decides who is suitable for the crew and who is not. The captain understands that the argument is over and just resorts to doing his job.

The journey starts. Gradually everyone except the stubborn captain warms up to the ship cook. Jim feels it mostly: he is still a teenager who misses his father very much and has to work as an adult - so he often comes to the kitchen to hear some sea stories and have a spare apple for a dessert. But when the ship is almost near the island, one night shatters all his well-established world of adventure. Suffering from insomnia Jim enters the empty deck to take an apple from the barrel. But the barrel appears to be almost empty, so he has to climb inside to get the last apples. When the boy is still in the barrel, he hears Silver’s voice scolding the rest of the crew and the words his friend says send chills down his spine. Silver plans mutiny. He wants the map for himself and his fellow pirates (everyone of his men was a former pirate) and is ready to get rid of the rest of the crew in perfectly cold blood.

Shocked and horrified, Jim waits for the traitors to go away from the deck and hurries to his friends, waking them up and telling them everything. They gather an emergency council (we can only imagine the size of “I’ve told you!” that Captain Smollett had in mind, moreover when he learns that it is due to Trelawney’s chatter the secret of the map was revealed!) and decide to pretend that nothing happened. Now, when they are in the open sea, they have no chances - the pirates outnumber them greatly and will easily kill them all. But when they will come close to the island, Captain Smollett will be able to send the majority of the pirates to the island - they will be glad to fulfill the order hoping to find some signs of the treasure - and then, when the numbers will be equal, they will deal with the rest.

The closer they sail to the island, the more aggressive the crew becomes. Still they don’t start the mutiny outright - they don’t know where the map is hidden and also none of them, even John Silver, has the knowledge enough to find the way back to England. So, when Captain Smollett offers the crew to take the boats and go to the island to have a little walk, search for food and water and lower the overall tension, no one is suspicious - the pirates are too glad to finally have a chance to search for the treasure of Captain Flint.

Everyone wants to go, so when the boats sail away there are only six pirates left on Hispaniola. Smollett, Livesey and the rest take down them quite easily and lock them in the lower deck. The faithful crew members set sails and drive the ship to the other side of the island to find the place where they can find defence and the source of water - that was indeed a scarce resource already. Luckily, soon they see an abandoned fort, old, but not ruined and still suitable to make a camp there. The crew transfer all the supplies to the fort and prepare for a possible siege.

Everything would be fine except someone was missing. Jim wasn’t on the ship. It appears that he secretly followed the pirates, deciding to conduct his own investigation. Secretly watching the pirate crew he sees as Silver calmly kills two sailors who refuse to join the mutiny. This sight frightens him so much that Jim runs away in panic, drawing the pirates’ attention. Hiding from them he suddenly encounters another person - who looks wild and mad and at first frightens Jim even more. But after a while it appears that the poor man was equally freaked out and that he is friendly, though crazy from the years of loneliness. The man names himself Ben Gunn and tells his story - once he was a sailor on the ship of Captain Flint, but three years ago he was marooned on the island - seems that he was just too decent person for a pirate. He is very glad to meet another living human and promises to help Jim as much as he is able - just in exchange for a thousand British pounds, a kind attitude and a small piece of cheese he dreamt about for so long.

In the meanwhile the fort is prepared: the guns are loaded, the holes are barricaded and everyone is ready to fight. Of course everyone is worried about Jim, but they can’t risk the lives of everyone else to save him from his own delinquency, so they have to wait. Their decision is right: Ben escorts Jim right to the fort and they are gladly taken inside. Everyone else listens to Ben’s story and they accept him into the crew. Soon John Silver himself appears to negotiate, claiming that the pirates have the upper hand, they captured Hispaniola back and are ready to use her cannons if needed. The captain can trade the lives of his men for the map. Smollett though is very sceptical: nothing will stop the pirates from attacking them after they get the map, so there is no reason to negotiate. The captain refuses and soon the pirates attack, killing one of the crew and wounding Smollett himself.

Seeing the miserable situation of his friends, Jim again decides to save the day. He secretly sneaks out from the fort and reaches the boat Ben Gunn built for himself. Using this boat Jim reaches the ship, assuming that the majority of the pirates are now on the island. So, it’s a perfect idea to go there alone and steal Hispaniola from them. He isn’t able to steer the ship, but he can to cut her from the anchor just setting her adrift. Jim notices that there are only two pirates left on the ship - and one of them is dead. Another one, the second-in-command after Silver, is a dangerous man named Israel Hands. But even a grown up man can’t control the ship by himself. Jim makes another risky move: he climbs aboard again and makes a deal with Hands: they sail together to safety on the other side of the island, otherwise they will be taken to their deaths to the open sea. The pirate has no options than to agree and soon they discover that they make a decent crew together. But the idyllic picture ends when they reach the final destination: Hands immediately tries to murder Jim. The boy is wounded, but he manages to shoot the pirate dead. Now he is the only living person knowing where Hispaniola is.

Jim hurries back, ready to boast and accept congratulations, but when he arrives to the fort, he sees that it is now occupied by the pirates. The boy is immediately taken hostage and brought to Silver. Silver says that the captain surrendered and gave away the map in exchange for some supplies and their lives. Jim is devastated by the news, but now he again has to think more about his own survival. He quickly notices that impatience and loss of their ship makes the pirates aggressive - but now their aggression is directed not against Smollett but against Silver himself. Silver also knows it and plays a difficult gambit. He pretends to hold Jim hostage in case that Smollett decides to ambush them, but his second plan is to treat the boy well, so if his own people start a revolt, he will surrender to the captain to save his life and present him Jim as a sign of good will and witness that he treated him well.

Dr. Livesey comes to see wounded pirates, fulfilling his part of the deal. He is glad to see Jim alive, and Jim (also fulfilling his part of his own deal with Silver) secretly tells him that Silver is ready to switch side if anything goes wrong. Livesey warns Jim that Silver will get into major troubles if he goes for treasures and leaves. There is nothing he can do for Jim now.

The pirates march to the spot marked on the map. But when they arrive to the place, they see only a big hole in the ground: someone has already dug out all the treasure. The shock of everyone, including Jim and Silver himself is unmeasurable. The pirates turn on Silver immediately, but some of them are killed on the spot by precise shots from the nearest forest. Turns out that Livesey and the rest of the crew secretly followed the pirates, worrying for Jim’s life. They talked to Ben Gunn before, learning that during the three years of solitude he managed to find the treasure, excavate it and hide it in another place, so the map is of no use anymore. Smollett immediately offers surrender, giving the pirates everything they want to save the lives of his men and they all go to the cave where treasure is located.

The captain decides to leave the pirates on the island, leaving them plenty of supplies to survive. The only one taken aboard is Silver, whom Smollett wants to face the trial. But when they arrive to the English port, Silver slips away and no one sees him again. The rest of the crew return home, getting a fair part of the treasure and everyone lives a happy and rich life.