Silver: My Own Tale with a Goodly Amount of Murder
By Edward Chupack
St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: January 6, 2009
Best known for striking a cutthroat figure in the classic Treasure Island, Long John Silver takes up the plume in Silver to recount with no regret how he became the lovable blaggard pirate fans have know him to be. And it’s not pretty. Silver has a way of making fast friends and killing them just as quickly, all while on a decades-old quest to find a mysterious treasure.
If you’re fearing a fanfic retread of classic waters, then you can rest easy. The pretense of the novel is a defeated post-Treasure Island Silver, who has been imprisoned on his own ship by an unnamed former hearty (shipmate). His only way of tormenting his captor — because what other scheme would the Long John Silver cook up? — is to write to him daily about the seafaring way of life and his life in particular.
Villainy doesn’t come easy, we see in this fictional autobiography. It takes a certain amount of moral bankruptcy, plenty of lies, and — if you’re doing it right — a significant body count. It’s the kind of career plan that necessitates an evil laugh or two, but Edward Chupack‘s Silver stays true to the psychopathic roots of its main character and narrator with a playful lyricism that’s all about piratry in the name of practicality. You’re hungry? Steal. Did that guy just insult you? Stab the bastard. For once, we have a main character who’s clear on what he wants and who he needs to kill to get it. There’s no moral compass in this book — and if there is one, it’s constantly pointing to kill.
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