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The Ebb-Tide

Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne

Book Overview: 

Three men down on their luck in Tahiti agree to ship out on a vessel whose officers have died of smallpox. Their desperate venture inspires them to a further idea: they will steal the schooner and its cargo of champagne, sell them, and live a plentiful life. The thought is intoxicating... and so is the cargo, which they sample. Inattention nearly brings them to grief in a sudden storm. This sobering experience is followed by another - apparently the dead officers had a similar ambition! - and their dreams of riches vanish.

Then, nearly out of provisions and deep in the heart of the Pacific where the chart shows no land - they happen on a small isle only hinted at in the records and never mapped. Saved! But what is this? The island hides a pearl fishery?

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I thought there was something up when the consul asked me to look in again; but I never let on to you fellows, so's you'd not be disappointed. Consul tried M'Neil; scared of smallpox. He tried Capirati, that Corsican and Leblue, or whatever his name is, wouldn't lay a hand on it; all too fond of their sweet lives. Last of all, when there wasn't nobody else left to offer it to, he offers it to me. "Brown, will you ship captain and take her to Sydney?" says he. "Let me choose my own mate and another white hand," says I, "for I don't hold with this Kanaka crew racket; give us all two months' advance to get our clothes and instruments out of pawn, and I'll take stock tonight, fill up stores, and get to sea tomorrow before dark!" That's what I said. "That's good enough," says the consul, "and you can count yourself damned lucky, Brown," says he. And he said it pretty meaningful-appearing, too. However, that's all one now. I'll ship Huish before the mast—of course I'll le. . . Read More

Community Reviews

(Stevenson's home at Vailima,Samoa)

For those who know a bit of his biography...Stevenson the Scotsman writer had been for his lifetime a world drifter. He'd been in America too (in San Francisco!),... ...before settling in Samoa, for the rest of his life. So, this novel apparently has biogr

Il “Romance” che giunge all’essenza del colonialismo

Commentando poco tempo fa Rapito, avevo notato come tale grande romanzo per ragazzi fosse stato edito da Robert Louis Stevenson nello stesso anno (1886) della pubblicazione in volume de Lo strano caso del Dr. Jekyll e di Mr. Hyde, rimarcando la sos

Romanzo d'avventura che ha per protagonisti tre autentici falliti abbandonati su una spiaggia di Tahiti, tre individui sgradevoli, disonesti e disperati, ai quali viene offerta una possibilità di riscatto - il trasporto di un carico di champagne a Sydney - che dovrebbe essere, per loro, l'inizio di

There is a very "British" distancing in the narration, which takes away from this narrative the original flavour of contact.

"For it is the destiny of those grave, restrained, and classic writers, with whom we make enforced and often painful acquaintanceship at school, to pass into the blood and become native in the memory; so that a phrase of Virgil speaks not so much of Mantua or Augustus, but of English places and the

This collection holds the Ebb Tide and the Island Nights Entertainments (or the South Sea Tales if you prefer). The Ebb Tide follows three men who having found themselves on the island of Tahiti are employed by the US Consul to ship a cargo of champagne to Sydney after the original crew come down wi

Stevenson's final finished novel, this was published in 1894 and co-authored by his stepson Lloyd Osbourne. Like most of the world, I've read the usual RLS titles (Treasure Island, Strange Case Of Dr, Jekyl And Mr. Hyde, Travels With A Donkey In The Cevennes) and a few short stories, but this work w

From BBC Radio 4 Drama:
The second of two dramatisations of Robert Louis Stevenson's gripping novellas set in Samoa and written while he lived there. Starring David Tennant.

Three destitute men steal a schooner. They drink the cargo of champagne and try to steal a treasure trove of pearls from a local

His Bedevilled and Dishonoured Soul
In all this there was no thought of Robert Herrick. He has complied with the ebb-tide in man's affairs, and the tide had carried him away; he heard already the roaring of the maelstrom that must hurry him under. And in his bedevilled and dishonoured soul there w

Some writers are all too easy to underestimate. I read this book on the recommendation of Jorge Luis Borges, and I was not disappointed. It is one of those stories which, while they progress naturally from scene to scene, cannot in any sense be foreseen.

The Ebb-Tide: A Trio and Quartette by Robert L

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