________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 7 . . . . November 24, 2006


The Uncle Duncle Chronicles: Escape from Treasure Island.

Darren Krill.
Montreal, PQ: Lobster Press, 2006.
335 pp., pbk., $12.95.
ISBN 1-897073-31-3.

Grades 8-10 / Ages 14-16.

Review by J. Lynn Fraser.

**** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.


“Not my best landing,” observed Uncle Dunkirk dryly. “But given the circumstances, definitely not my worst.”

After unbuckling his seat belt, Uncle Dunkirk slid open the canopy and climbed out onto the wing. Sage managed to hoist himself up and climb out as well. He still clutched his Jim Hawkins compass. And after checking to see if it was still working - north, south, east, west - Sage slipped the instrument back into the pocket of his jeans for safekeeping, and wiped his sweaty palms on the seat of his pants. After the numerous close scrapes they’d had today, there was no doubting the luck that the compass provided.

“We’d better move quick, Sage,” instructed Uncle Dunkirk, glancing around the clearing, which, for the time being was deserted. “Whoever shot at us could be on their way to find us.”


Non-stop fun and action describes this easy to read adventure-filled yarn. Author Darren Krill throws in a few historical and modern pop culture references for good measure in a pirate adventure populated by Robert Lewis Stevenson’s characters from Treasure Island.

     The main character is a young boy named Sage Smiley who goes on a summer vacation with his Uncle Dunkirk, nicknamed Uncle Duncle. The adventure becomes complicated when the pair are sent into a fictional past based on Stevenson’s Treasure Island.

     The author tells a great story that teaches the reader a bit about history and philosophy. When, for example, Sage mistakes the word nirvana for Kurt Cobain’s grunge rock band, Uncle Duncle explains the word’s original usage and meaning. For older readers and more savvy younger ones, Krill’s writing is gently humourous, an example being Uncle Duncle’s bluffing that Paul McCartney is the captain of a ship from Liverpool and someone with whom he has sailed.

     Some sections of the book can be a bit gory such as the description of the ‘nick of time’ method to punish disobedient pirates that entails a slow death being ravaged by sharks. There is also violence, an aspect one would expect in a tale about pirates, betrayal, and treasure.

     Krill’s writing brings humanity to what could have been one-dimensional characters. The reader is given an interesting multidimensional perspective on greed, loneliness, lust for power, loyalty, and love while refraining from imparting heavy-handed life lessons.

     The book is a great read for mature young readers and adults. Krill has done a service to Stevenson’s books to which the young reader may turn after whetting his or her appetite on the Chronicles.

Highly Recommended.

Located in Toronto, ON, J. Lynn Fraser is a freelance writer and editor whose magazine articles appear in national and international publications.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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