The Enid Blyton Society
The Island of Adventure
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Book Details...

First edition: 1944
Publisher: Macmillan
Illustrator: Stuart Tresilian
Category: Adventure Series
Genre: Mystery/Adventure
Type: Novels/Novelettes

On This Page...

Reprint Covers
Review by Anita Bensoussane
Further Illustrations


Wraparound dustwrapper from the 1st edition, illustrated by Stuart Tresilian

Wraparound dustwrapper from the Thames reprint, illustrated by Stuart Tresilian

1st American edition published by Macmillan in 1945 illustrated by Stuart Tresilian and
a 1963 American paperback edition published by Acorn Books (Macmillan) with a
cover illustrated by Arthur Shilstone, but with no internal illustrations.

1st German edition published by Erika Klopp Verlag in 1950,
illustrated by Brehnek

Early German reprint published by Erika Klopp Verlag,
illustrated by Juliane van Dorp
Foreign Titles
American: Mystery Island
German: Die Insel der Abenteuer
French: Le mystère de l'île aux mouettes (Arthur & Cie à l'île aux Mouettes)
Dutch: Het eiland van avontuur
Spanish: Aventura en la Isla
Portuguese: A Aventura na Ilha
Swedish: Aventyrens O
Finnish: Seikkailujen Saari
Icelandic: Aevintyraeyjan
Malaysian: Pengembaraan Di Pulau
Indonesian: Petulangan Di Pulau Suram

Brief Summary by Courtenay Rule: Philip and Dinah Mannering and their new friends Jack and Lucy-Ann Trent — along with Jack's irrepressible talking parrot, Kiki — are spending their summer holiday at Craggy-Tops, an ancient, half-ruined house by the sea. Before long, they are drawn to the mysterious Isle of Gloom in the distance and are determined to find a way to get there and explore it. But gradually it becomes apparent that the island may not be as deserted as it's supposed to be. Who is signalling from the island to the mainland at night? What is going on in the abandoned copper mines beneath the island? And what does the friendly yet enigmatic Bill Smugs know about it all? The four children find themselves caught up in an adventure more thrilling — and dangerous — than they could have imagined.

Full Review (This may contain spoilers):

Anita Bensoussane's Review
It is in this book that Jack, Philip, Dinah and Lucy-Ann first became friends and find themselves spending the summer at Craggy-Tops, with Philip and Dinah's Aunt Polly and Uncle Jocelyn. We are introduced to some of the wild creatures which Philip carries about his person — including mice and a squirrel — and it's interesting, as the series progresses, to see how many different kinds of animals he manages to tame. Craggy-Tops is an isolated house, old and half-ruined, set halfway up a steep cliff in a district honeycombed with underground passages — like Smuggler's Top (Five Go to Smuggler's Top, which was published a year later, in 1945) in some respects. Aunt Polly, who looks "tired and faded," is over-worked and struggles to make ends meet, causing her to be sour-tempered. Her husband is a Quentin-like figure — an absent-minded historian who spends most of his time working in his study, even forgetting about meals. There is also a handyman-servant named Jo-Jo, a bad-tempered, sullen character with "rolling eyes." He is one of the few black characters to be found in Blyton and comes across as something of a caricature at first, full of superstitious tales of bad "things" wandering about at night. However, his seeming simple-mindedness is all an act to prevent people from seeing him for what he really is — a clever, scheming villain.

Craggy-Tops overlooks the mysterious Isle of Gloom — an island shrouded in mist and spray, and surrounded by a reef of rocks. When the children meet Bill Smugs, who introduces himself as an ornithologist, they are delighted when he teaches them how to sail. Eventually, unknown to Bill, the children visit the Isle of Gloom, where the rocks contain deposits of copper (Blyton initially described their colour as red, but in later editions this was corrected to green.) On the island they see men apparently working the old copper mines, and assume that Bill must be in league with them. Needless to say, the children are wrong. They eventually find out that Bill is a member of the police force who has been detailed to keep an eye on Jo-Jo. It is Jo-Jo who is in league with the men on the island, who are not mining copper but using the old mines as a place in which to make counterfeit money. Of course, Jack and the others do not discover all this until they have had a most exciting adventure — one involving flashing lights, ancient maps, secret passages and daring rescues. Disappointingly, the girls are left out of much of the excitement while the boys and Bill have plenty, narrowly escaping drowning when Jo-Jo and his gang set off explosives to flood the mines with sea-water at the end of the book. Because a secret passage links the mines with the well at Craggy-Tops, the well-water turns salt, meaning that Aunt Polly and Uncle Jocelyn will have to leave the old house. That comes as a relief to Aunt Polly — she could not persuade her husband to leave Craggy-Tops previously, but now they will be able to move to a smaller house where she will have an easier life.

The reward that the children receive for their part in catching the counterfeiters enables Mrs Mannering to give up work and make a home for Philip and Dinah — and for Jack and Lucy-Ann whom, in true Blyton fashion, she is more than happy to adopt. One last thing — Mrs Mannering's first ever words to her future husband, Bill, are rather amusing from an adult perspective. He brings her a flask of tea and she squeals: "Oh, Bill! What an enormous flask! I've never seen such a giant." These illustrations are hidden by default to ensure faster browsing. Loading the illustrations is recommended for high-speed internet users only.