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The Wrecker

The Wrecker (novel)

The Wrecker (1892) is a novel written by Robert Louis Stevenson in collaboration with his stepson Lloyd Osbourne. The story revolves around the abandoned wreck of the Flying Scud at Midway Island. Clues in a stamp collection are used to track down the missing crew and solve the mystery. It is only in the last chapter that different story elements become linked.

Stevenson described it as a ‘South Sea yarn’ concerning ‘a very strange and defective plan that was accepted with open eyes for what seemed countervailing opportunities offered’. Although the book sold well, reviews were mixed, with a The New York Times reviewer concluding that:

The Wrecker is a kind of blank-cartridge romance with a big explosion, which raises a dust, and if anything really has happened it escapes you in the flash and the cloud of smoke.

The different loosely connected stories reflected how Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne wrote the book. Each contributed different sections but agreeing to develop characters and descriptions of places they both knew well. The following are examples:

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