Treasure Island

  • by Robert Louis Stevenson, Marty Ross - adaptation
  • Narrated by Philip Glenister, Daniel Mays, Catherine Tate, Owen Teale
  • 6 hrs and 26 mins
  • Performance

Publisher's Summary

Audible Originals takes to the high seas to bring to life this timeless tale of pirates, lost treasure maps and mutiny, starring BAFTA-nominated Catherine Tate (The Catherine Tate Show, The Office, Doctor Who), Philip Glenister (Outcast, Life On Mars), Owen Teale (Game of Thrones, Pulse, Last Legion) and Daniel Mays (The Adventures of Tintin, Rogue One, Atonement), amongst others.
When weathered old sailor Billy Bones arrives at the inn of young Jim Hawkins' parents, it is the start of an adventure beyond anything he could have imagined. When Bones dies mysteriously, Jim stumbles across a map of a mysterious island in his sea chest, where X marks the spot of a stash of buried pirate gold. Soon after setting sail to recover the treasure, Jim realises that he's not the only one intent on discovering the hoard. Suddenly he is thrown into a world of treachery, mutiny, castaways and murder, and at the centre of it all is the charming but sinister Long John Silver, who will stop at nothing to grab his share of the loot.
One of the best-loved adventure stories ever written, Robert Louis Stevenson's 1881 novel introduced us to characters such as the unforgettable Long John Silver, forever associating peg-legged pirates with 'X marks the spot' in our cultural consciousness. Following the success of the double Audie Award-winning Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book: The Mowgli Stories, Audible Originals UK are excited to announce this reimagination of Stevenson's coming-of-age story that will captivate all of the family.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A reflective adventure

The Audible dramatization of Treasure Island is excellent, with only a few false steps. Owen Teale is great as Silver, with his combination of flattery and ruthlessness. (I would have expected no less of Alliser Thorne.) But that points to one of the false steps here: the cast is named but not the parts they play; I was able to confirm that Teale was Silver only by locating a press release online. That seems a little ungenerous to my way of thinking.

For the record: besides Teale, Philip Glenister is Dr Livesey; Daniel Mays is Ben Gunn; Catherine Tate is Jim's mother. And who among the named cast plays Jim Hawkins, who with his narration has by far the most audio time? No idea. Even Audible'a promotional video doesn't mention him.

Another false step is that there are long gaps of silence between scenes. It's not unusual for an audio play to observe a moment of silence to mark a transition. But here, the gaps between scenes last several seconds; a couple of times I wondered if I'd gone into sleep mode by mistake. These gaps seem tailor-made for some linking music to be added in post-production, but there isn't any. It affects the pace. The gaps seem to slow things down. (There IS music from time to time, usually to set a somber or threatening tone.)

It's a subdued production: a quiet, gritty Treasure Island, one that avoids flashy swashing and buckling in favor of soft and sinister exchanges. And it's a reflective adaptation: with the help of a few lines and a couple of scenes not in the book, it creates a much stronger sense of moral ambiguity than in the book. The Jim Hawkins who returns from the voyage is a very different person than the boy who left, and the difference is bittersweet and satisfying.

In general the production adheres closely to the events of the book — including lots of narration from Jim Hawkins — but it does make some changes. Some scenes are expanded with additional dialogue to good effect (Israel Hands is given a chance to shine, as is Silver's parrot); other changes are apparently made just for the sake of change. Abraham Gray, a brave and honest seaman in the book, is presented here as a sniveling coward.

But despite its subdued tone, and a few changes I found jarring, I found it a compelling listen, one that drew me in by its quiet intensity rather than histrionics. I put that down to the excellence of the cast and the sound design. It's an oddly intimate version of an action-packed adventure.

A version of Treasure Island stands or falls by its Long John Silver and its Jim Hawkins. Both are excellent here: multifaceted and multilayered. And they are given a "necessary scene" at the end that is missing from the book; it's a scene that appears in several film versions of the story, but here it's given straight, without a trace of sentimentality.

The producers have given themselves (and the writer) enough runtime to develop the story much more fully than is usually the case. I enjoyed it a lot, and I recommend it.
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- Tad Davis

Excellent Performance

i loved this performance of Treasure Island. This is definitely a book I will come back and listen to again.
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- Kristopher

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-17-2017
  • Publisher: Audible Studios