Standard Ebooks

The Coral Island

R. M. Ballantyne


Three young members of the crew of a merchant ship sailing in the South Pacific are the sole survivors of its wreck in a storm. Swept ashore an uninhabited island, their initial efforts to survive soon lead them to a settled life in what seems to be a tropical paradise. However, their enjoyment of their new island home doesn’t dampen their desire to return to England, their homeland. As their planning and preparations to escape patiently unfold, encounters with visitors both native and European dramatically alter their idyllic existence. The dangers they confront threaten not only their hopes, but their lives—and ultimately lead to unexpected results.

The Coral Island is the most popular and enduring of R. M. Ballantyne’s prodigious literary output. It was met with acclaim on publication, and has never been out of print since. His own travels as a young man had taken him for a few years to Hudson Bay, and this experience formed the basis of his early writings—adventure stories for younger readers, boys in particular. Meeting with some success, he began to use other exotic locations for further adventure writing, giving rise to The Coral Island, written in the tradition of Robinson Crusoe.

Ballantyne’s work in its turn influenced others. Robert Louis Stevenson was an admirer of Ballantyne, and he acknowledged the influence of The Coral Island on his own Treasure Island. In a different way, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is the antitype of the “Muscular Christianity” ideal found in Ballantyne’s work, internalizing the evil which Ballantyne’s young heroes, for the most part, confronted as something outside themselves.

With its vigorous narration, attention to detail of flora and fauna, and social and ethnographic observations, the appeal of Ballantyne’s most popular work remains evident, even while its role in mid-Victorian imperialism continues to be debated and re-evaluated.

Read free

This ebook is thought to be free of copyright restrictions in the United States. It may still be under copyright in other countries. If you’re not located in the United States, you must check your local laws to verify that this ebook is free of copyright restrictions in the country you’re located in before accessing, downloading, or using it.

Download for ereaders

Read online

A brief history of this ebook

  1. Update accessibility boilerplate

  2. Update Onix file boilerplate

  3. Update metadata boilerplate

  4. Update core.css to new standards

  5. Update word count in metadata

More details



Page scans

Improve this ebook

Anyone can contribute to make a Standard Ebook better for everyone!

To report typos, typography errors, or other corrections, see how to report errors.

If you’re comfortable with technology and want to contribute directly, check out this ebook’s GitHub repository and our contributors section.

You can also donate to Standard Ebooks to help fund continuing improvement of this and other ebooks.