The Coral Island

Cover image for


Published: 1857
Language: English
Wordcount: 98,238 / 269 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 83.9
LoC Category: PR
Downloads: 8,380 748
More Info:
Genres: Nautical, Adventure

Three boys, Ralph, Peterkin and Jack, are stranded on an island - not a realistic portrayal of such a situation, but still successful and popular in its day. Its interesting to note that The Lord of the Flies was written in response to the unrealistic behavour and racism in this book.

Show Excerpt

balmy breeze fanned my cheek, and I thought of home, and the garden at the back of my father's cottage, with its luxuriant flowers, and the sweet-scented honey-suckle that my dear mother trained so carefully upon the trellised porch. But the roaring of the surf put these delightful thoughts to flight, and I was back again at sea, watching the dolphins and the flying-fish, and reefing topsails off the wild and stormy Cape Horn. Gradually the roar of the surf became louder and more distinct. I thought of being wrecked far far away from my native land, and slowly opened my eyes to meet those of my companion Jack, who, with a look of intense anxiety, was gazing into my face.

"Speak to us, my dear Ralph," whispered Jack, tenderly, "are you better now?"

I smiled and looked up, saying, "Better; why, what do you mean, Jack? I'm quite well"

"Then what are you shamming for, and frightening us in this way?" said Peterkin, smiling through his tears; for the poor boy had been really under the impressi


Average Rating of 4 from 15 reviews: ****

One of my favourite books when in school. I read it many times after that. Now I own a copy and still reading it. The book is sure to bring in a spirit of adventure in young people.


Read this book many years ago as a child ,caught my imagination. Loved it .


the storyline is superb.
i love the story very much.
it is interesting and enjoying to read it.
thanks to the author for publishing this book.

thank you.


It all depends on what you like reading.


Excellent book. Kept my attention from beginning to end. The truth of this story is real even if the story itself isn't.


This book has been one of my favourite reads since decades. I don't mind reading it once more.


"The Coral Island" is a readable adventure story of the sort Ballantyne wrote so well.

The core idea itself is, of course, hardly new. Being stranded on a desert island has been a part of English novels since the first "novel" (per se) in English: "Robinson Crusoe," a story that (on the surface, anyway) is about one main fighting his environment.

In "The Coral Island," there are three friends involved. They have minimal trouble with their environment, and the climactic aspects of the book come through their interactions with native peoples.

This book was written for youth. Nowadays youth literature too often means an impoverished vocabulary and structure -- a lack of intellectual content. Back in the day, it could just mean plots, themes, and characters that were simpler and/or naive. But they were treated in language not all that far removed from that of ordinary literature (see e.g. F.H. Burnett's beautiful novels), and the ideas driving them were not so different from what drove adult lit.

"The Coral Island" is in line with this trend. The plot is simple as can be, and highly marked by the imperialist ideology of its age. The characters are quite simple, and give the impression of having been picked out of a box of cardboard cutouts.

But it's an entertaining and pleasurable read. I think anyone who enjoys old-fashioned adventure literature will find it worthwhile (though with the usual caveats of the genre).

R Stephan

Adventure storytelling with pink sunglasses on.


The two one star reviewers are commenting more about them selves than the book. It is a wonderful story and reveals a very different view than "Lord of the Flies." The two together make for a good compare/contrast.


good book. Not as barbaric as Lord of the Flies

Jim Crainie

An excellent adventure yarn. Plenty of twists and turns in the story to keep you hooked. Highly recommended.


No one else seems to have actually read the text. It was an enjoyable story that didn't require a lot of analysis. In the future, I would recommend that the comments posted reflect the true work.


it's actually quite good

alex carlson

this book sucks horribly


this book sucks really bad. I hate it

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