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

First edition: 1948
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 German edition published by Erika Klopp Verlag in 1951,
illustrated by Walter Born

Early German reprint published by Erika Klopp Verlag,
illustrated by Juliane van Dorp
Foreign Titles
German: Die See der Abenteuer
French: Le Mystère du Golfe Bleu (Arthur & Cie au Golfe Bleu)
Dutch: De zee van avontuur
Spanish: Aventura En El Mar
Portuguese: A Aventura no Mar
Swedish: Aventyrens Hav
Finnish: Seikkailujen Meri
Icelandic: Aevintyrahafid
Czech: Tajemne More Napinave Dobrodruzstvi Spravne Cytrky
Malaysian: Pengembaraan Di Lautan
Indonesian: Petulangan Di Laut Sunyi

Brief Summary by Courtenay Rule: Philip, Dinah, Jack and Lucy-Ann, all recovering from a bout of measles, are under doctor's orders to take a holiday while they recuperate. Learning that their friend Bill the police agent needs to go into hiding for a while, they persuade him to take them bird-watching in the remote islands north of Scotland. But it turns out they are not alone in the wild seas after all. Something secret and dangerous is going on — and those behind it are determined to ensure that no-one finds them out.

Full Review (This may contain spoilers):

Anita Bensoussane's Review
After a bout of measles, Jack, Philip, Dinah and Lucy-Ann need a holiday to convalesce. Bill, who has been ordered to "disappear" for some time because he is being hunted by his enemies, disguises himself as a naturalist and takes them to some remote Scottish islands where Jack and the others will have the opportunity to study sea-birds and their nesting habits.

Bill and the children cruise round the islands in Bill's motor-boat, The Lucky Star. As always in Blyton, the sea is "the colour of cornflowers," despite the fact that it is only May, and Jack is thrilled with the multitude of seabirds to be seen. Blyton is at her most lyrical when describing the sounds and movement of the birds: "There was a chorus of different cries, some shrill, some guttural, some mournful and forlorn. They gave the children a wild, exultant kind of feeling." Later, she writes: "Birds rose and fell in the air, glided and soared, weaving endless patterns in the blue sky."

The children's first few days are spent camping, picnicking, bathing and exploring the islands, which have birds, cliffs, sea-pinks and heather in abundance. Jack takes photos of the birds and their eggs and Philip befriends two puffins, Huffin and Puffin. However, Bill feels that something is not quite right when they keep hearing aeroplanes and Lucy-Ann finds a piece of orange-peel bobbing in the sea. He believes that there may be enemies about. While sending a message to headquarters over his wireless, Bill is surprised by two men who knock him unconscious and take him away, damaging his boat and his wireless first.

Left alone, the bewildered children keep a look-out for enemies. When a weedy fool of a man named Horace Tipperlong arrives in a motor-boat, claiming to be a naturalist, they suspect he has been sent by the enemy and that he is only pretending to be goofy to gain their trust. The children capture him, imprison him in a hole and manage to take his boat. Bravely, they then decide to try to rescue Bill rather than head for safety immediately.

This is where the adventure really takes off. We have aeroplanes dropping packages into a mysterious lagoon, motor-boat chases, night swims, shooting and the dramatic rescue of Bill from a boat belonging to the enemy. The enemies, who are gun-runners, turn out to be the very men from whom Bill was trying to "disappear." And Horace Tipperlong is nothing more than an innocent nature-lover after all!

Bill is touched when he hears that the children chose to look for him rather than escaping straightaway in Horace's boat and he says: "... you're the finest company of friends anyone could have. You know the meaning of loyalty already, and even if you're scared you don't give up." This is praise indeed and the children feel a real bond with Bill: "Friendship — loyalty — staunchness in the face of danger — they and Bill both knew these things and recognised them for the fine things they were. They felt very close to Bill indeed." It is in this book that we see the relationship between Bill and the children strengthening. At the beginning of the book we are told that Lucy-Ann "often wished that Bill were her father" — a wish that is to be granted later on in the series.

In a riveting finale, Bill and the children are marooned on the open sea when the motor-boat in which they are travelling runs out of petrol. A booming voice from a sea-plane commands them to surrender and all seems lost — until they realise that the plane belongs not to the enemy, but to Bill's men!

This is one of the most action-packed of the Adventure books, yet there are many beautiful descriptions of the birds and scenery too, and several rather touching moments as the relationship between Bill and the children develops. A truly memorable and satisfying adventure, this book is my second favourite of the series.

One last thing — it is in The Sea of Adventure that Enid Blyton refers to Richmal Crompton's "William" books. When the children keep Horace Tipperlong prisoner, he says: "I suppose you're all playing at being Just Williams. Pah!" These illustrations are hidden by default to ensure faster browsing. Loading the illustrations is recommended for high-speed internet users only.