Friday, August 13, 2010

The Island, by Peter Benchley

(hb; 1979)

From the inside flap:

"How could hundreds of boats, carrying more than two thousand people, simply disappear? Why does no one know, or care to know? Blair Maynard, an editor at a weekly news magazine, becomes obsessed with finding out what's going on. . .

"With his twelve-year-old son, Maynard pursues the story to remote archipelago southeast of the Bahamas. There, on the deceptively inviting waters of the tropics, Maynard and his son sail into as sinister a drama as has ever been played out on the sea. For the island harbors a violent and shocking secret -- and by discovering it, Maynard and his son are plunged into a nightmare struggle to survive."

Review:

Gripping, mysterious, informative, blast-through-it suspense novel.

More intense than The Deep, this too, reads like an island camp fireside-scary but thrilling caveat tale about the enchanting, treacherous ocean - as well as the sometimes treacherous and malleable nature of people.

Much of what makes The Island resound with me is Maynard's intent, in the latter part of the book: he's trying to save his son, who seems to have gone violently native with these brutish, Christian-based(!) savages who have kidnapped them. (In The Deep, it was also a life-or-death situation for its protagonists, but the child in peril element of The Island raises the bizarre stakes.)

Check this out.

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The film version was released stateside on June 13, 1980. Michael Ritchie directed the film, from book author Peter Benchley's screenplay.

Michael Caine played Blair Maynard. Jeffrey Frank played Justin Maynard. David Warner played John David Nau. Frank Middlemass played Windsor. Colin Jeavons played Hizzoner. Angela Punch MacGregor played Beth.

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