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The Island

3.32  ·  Rating details ·  1,647 ratings  ·  106 reviews
Two men and a boy, on the boat they charter to game-fishermen, are lazing away the hottest hours of a Caribbean day when they notice a cameo which appears to be adrift. They manoeuvre it alongside their boat, one of the men reaches to pull back the tarpaulin which conceals whatever it contains—and the reader receives a jolting shock which reminds him of those famous first ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published June 11th 1979 by André Deutsch (first published 1979)
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Average rating 3.32  · 
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 ·  1,647 ratings  ·  106 reviews

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POTBOILER!! – The best word to describe the book.

I come across the book in a second hand book store and the name of the writer – Peter Benchley, the man who wrote Jaws, made me buy this novel.

The story starts with a mysterious man killing people in a boat. Of course, the killing continues – “the bodies keep piling” as the blurbs of pulp fiction thrillers like to proclaim.

Now enters Blair Maynard, a writer for a newsweekly. He is a clichéd character in many respects – wife left him with their
Adam Howe
Mar 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Benchley’s maritime thrillers haven’t dated well, so I was surprised how much I enjoyed this one. The premise is batshit crazy – a magazine reporter takes his young son to the Bahamas to investigate a spate of disappearing boats…only to be abducted by the descendents of 17th century pirates. Entertaining though it was, I couldn’t help wondering what a writer like Ketchum or King might’ve done with it. You might’ve seen the film adaptation? Michael Caine (as the reporter) raking down pirates with ...more
Jan 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
MUCH better than Jaws, but still filled with high-school fantasy sex scenes. The sexuality is much easier to *ahem* swallow in this novel, as it fits a little bit better with the concept as a whole. Pirates, baby, who are still living as if it was the 18th century, marauding away until they finally bite off more than their toothless maws can chew.

Skip Jaws for the movie, but definitely read this one.
Jeff Dickison
Aug 06, 2019 rated it liked it
The first half of this book is excellent, the second half is gut-wrenchingly awful. Writer tried to find why many boats have gone missing in a particular area for no known reasons. After the writer and his son get to the island the story becomes pure horror with sadistic murders and other violent garbage. The ending is very abrupt and leaves myriad parts of the tale unanswered. Only recommended to people who like pirates and lots of rum.
It's like the author just up and ended the book ... I mean like right in the middle of the action just wraps up, and I use the term wraps up very loosely here, the book in one page answering none of the questions or finishing any of the story lines.
Beauregard Shagnasty
Enjoyable romp. This is pretty much a sea-going version of what in the film world is known as a "backwoods brutality" story. Instead of inbred hillbilly cannibals it features pirates tormenting the representatives of civilized society.
Sep 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
I liked this crazy little half-forgotten book by Benchley. Modern day pirates descended from the originals, still clinging to their strange ideals of testing strength through battle at a moments notice. Reminded me of a biker gang.

These scurvy sailors hide in the dark corners of paradise where tourists do not trek (exactly where that would be today, I have no idea), and occasionally these sea dogs steal a little ship, kill the adult occupants, plunder its booty, and keep the kids to replenish
Gale Bailey
Aug 20, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Terrible! Until this book, I had always enjoyed Benchley, but not this one!! Too much needless violence, and the ending leaves you hanging! Unless you like books about buccanneers, I cannot reccomend this book.
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: soft
yo ho ho and a bottle of rum
Newly Wardell
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Pirate tales can be amazing. Peter Benchley is a salty sea bard with a passion for the pen. First of all, this is real pirates. If you are looking for a tale about pretend ugly pretty Johnny Depp type pirates, look else where. These are desperate "men" with a bottle of rum throat slitting pirates and it is a father and son story too. I mean this is all yo ho ho and a bottle of rum like pirates. twenty word synopsis: 610 boats go missing, reporter on almost whim goes to find out why. Lost ...more
Lew Wagerly
Nov 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Part lord of the flies, part pirates of the Caribbean written by the genius behind jaws. I wont say much more than that. Theres also a movie i guess but i myself hAve not seen it, could be good since while reading this i kept thinking to myself how well this would translate into film.
Cameron Roubique
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Finally finished The Island. Probably my least favorite of the 5 Peter Benchley maritime thrillers. I think the main problem with the Island is that you don't really feel much for any of the characters. Whenhe modern day pirates finally show up, they are so soulless and brutal that I wanted to hurry through the rest of the book and be done with them. I guess they were more realistic pirates than say your Disney Jack Sparrow type pirates, but more realistic doesn't necessarily mean more ...more
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not to be confused with a "great American novel"...but this novel by the author of "JAWS" was pretty darn good! When a magazine writer who is having a "who am I?" phase of life discovers that hundreds of vessels and thousands of people have gone missing near the Turks and Caicos islands over the last several hundred years he takes his twelve year old son on an adventure. Not the best parenting moment, Maynard! This novel stands on its own as a suspenseful thriller....but you may not want to take ...more
Kara Jorges
Dec 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Maynard is a frustrated journalist who gave up on writing anything important and settled into his life as a magazine writer, churning out assignments but enjoying some freelance work. One day, he stumbles across an amazing statistic: boats are disappearing in the Caicos Islands area of the Caribbean at a steady rate in numbers too high not to beg for an explanation. His editor, though not as excited about it as Maynard, gives him enough encouragement for Maynard to impulsively take a trip, ...more
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-in-print
I've read plenty of books where they've found dinosaurs, dragons, samurai, and even medieval knights, but here we have the lost tribe of bonifide golden-aged-style pirates from the Spanish Main. Gotta love a good pirate story, especially when you can throw in a deck mounted .50 caliber machine gun.

I will also say, the plot itself worked out a bit different than I was anticipating going into the book. In doing so, Benchley gave a vivid look into the inner workings of their little timeless pirate
Barron Dalton
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Although this book seemed outrageously unlikely in a few spots it nevertheless was a rollicking good concept and tale. I give this book an additional star (from 3 to 4) because I like the dust jacket art work that the hard cover first edition has. This book was released in 1979 so, it is also a nice trip back in time for me, having grown up in the 70's. I may read this book again in the future, as I am a big Benchley fan.
Mar 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the frist, "Big" book, that I ever read. I can't really remember to much about the story. Some of the other reviewers, have commented on sex scences, but for the life of me, I don't remember any.

But, I do remember liking the book.
Oct 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Read when published so the characters in my mind were developed from Benchley's great writing.
An amazingly campy, terrible, enjoyable beach read. After the success of Jaws, Benchley decided he could write just about anything and get it published, so he did. This potboiler is about a New York magazine editor who decides to investigate boats missing near the islands of Turks and Caicos. Once there, he runs afoul of the descendants of Carribean pirates who kidnap him and his son. (None of this is as exciting as it sounds.) The boy becomes apprentice to the head pirate while the magazine ...more
Jonathan Forisha
Jun 30, 2017 rated it liked it
I love pirates, so I was pretty pumped for this one. It starts out strong and Benchley's great with dialogue so things flowed pretty well, but then for some reason our protagonist is hopping a plane to Miami with his son, and then they're buying a gun before they board progressively sketchier means of transportation to get to some island he hasn't even heard of before.

Why the gun when he didn't feel he had anything to worry about yet? Why bring his son? Why not stop and think about anything?

Samantha Greenya
5 solely as a thriller, 1 as a story told.
While Benchley's ability to capture the reader's attention and keep him thirsting, wondering what will come next, his story-telling abilities are lacking. It seems as if the book's only purpose is to provide ephemeral entertainment, not to tell an actual story.
The reader is more interested in supporting characters (such as Whitey and Windsor) than the flat, uninteresting excuses for main characters. The central problem of the story is delved into way too
David Merrill
Mar 07, 2015 rated it liked it
I have to admit, I enjoyed this book a lot more than I expected to. I was pretty much in the mood for something like this when I picked it up, a fast moving thriller. I was expecting to give it 4 stars through most of it, but as I got to the end, it fell off the rails. this book was in desperate need of a different ending. There will be spoilers past this point in my review, in case you want to stop here. I think it was at the point where Manuel "helps" Maynard and Justin "escape" things become ...more
Jun 25, 2019 added it
Shelves: fiction
Found this while cleaning out a house and thought I'd give it a shot. I remembered a little misogyny in Jaws, but in this book it drips with it right out of the gate. Didn't get very far.
Sep 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Peter Benchley has a great deal of knowledge about the high seas and the dangers that sailors encounter. He weaves this knowledge seamlessly into this story of a young boy and his father as they go on an adventure to find out why more than 600 ships had disappeared over the past year (an actual fact that had lead him to the idea of this book). I felt I learned a few things from this book and I was entertained along the way. I'd say that's a pretty good deal and would recommend this book. It's ...more
Jul 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have never before been much interested in Pirate stories but found myself really intrigued by this book. I really enjoyed reading it but the ending left me feeling kind of jipped. It ends really suddenly and leaves a lot unanswered. I felt like there should be a sequel or something lol.
Greg Zimmermann
Dec 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
I gave this * because it is truly a piece of trash, but this is still nostalgically the best piece of trash I’ve ever read. Pure, ridiculous, schlocky trash. Give it a whirl anyhow.
Micah Konyha
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Peter Benchley is best known for his book Jaws. The Island shows he is not a one hit wonder. The intrigue and mystery in this book was fun. The ending was unexpected and fun.
Benjamin Stahl
Nov 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Peter Benchley, author of the classic shark-hunting odyssey, Jaws, never rekindled his debutal success. The Deep, his second thriller about shipwrecks and treasure smugglers, was average and met with indifference. His third novel, The Island, focusses on a secret island community of Christian bucaneers. In the words on the jacket flap: "the strangest and the best he (Benchley) has yet concieved". The strangest, most definitely. The best, most assuredly not. It was fun and short and that's all ...more
Erik Prime
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Forget Jaws and the Deep, this is Benchley's best work. The author carved a niche for himself among 1970's fiction writers with tales of nautical adventure and man vs. aquatic beast. The stars of this fast-paced, well-written tale are not killer sharks or cuttlefish but rather a clan of inbred cannibal pirates who prey upon the yachts of the rich and famous in the Bermuda Triangle. The pirates kidnap a journalist's son and bloody mayhem ensues. The 1980 film version is dated but worth a look for ...more
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There is much more to this book than how it isn't about sharks. Based on real-life accounts of missing boats and passengers, this thrill ride tells the tale of a journalist and his son falling into the hands of savage pirates. I loved the originality of Benchley's third novel, smart in how it's unlike most fiction.
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Peter Bradford Benchley was an American author best known for writing the novel Jaws and co-writing the screenplay for its highly successful film adaptation. The success of the book led to many publishers commissioning books about mutant rats, rabid dogs and the like threatening communities. The subsequent film directed by Steven Spielberg and co-written by Benchley is generally acknowledged as ...more
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“Ninguna pelea tiene sentido, Justin. Si uno se ve abocado a una pelea, lo mejor que puede hacer es concluirla. Lo del "juego limpio" es asunto del contrario.” 0 likes
“Cuando don Marinero Bisoño sale de Miami rumbo a las Bahamas, a lo mejor con un atlas como carta de navegación -y le aseguro que algunos de esos idiotas lo hacen-, se convierte en un accidente en busca de un lugar donde ocurrir.” 0 likes
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