The Ebb-Tide: A Trio and Quartette is one of three collaborative literary efforts between Robert Louis Stevenson and his stepson, Lloyd Osbourne. Together the two men traveled the South Seas, so it only makes sense that they would put their heads together to write a novel that begins in Tahiti.
Stage, screen, and audio actor Barnaby Edwards voices the sailors and champagne merchants who make up this entertaining tale that takes its protagonists across the Pacific. The wonderful turn-of-the-century seafaring slang is delightful to hear, especially when Edwards intones a Cockney beggar who spends much of his time on the ocean extremely intoxicated.
Emma, I have scratched out the beginning to my father, for I think I can write more easily to you. This is my last farewell to all, the last you will ever hear or see of an unworthy friend and son. I have failed in life; I am quite broken down and disgraced. I pass under a false name; you will have to tell my father that with all your kindness. It is my own fault. -- with Fanny Van De Grift Stevenson.
Robert Louis Stevenson was born in 1850 in Edinburgh, the son of an engineer. He briefly studied engineering, then law, and contributed to university magazines while a student. Despite life-long poor health, he was an enthusiastic traveller, writing about European travels in the late 1870s and marrying in America in 1879. He contributed to various periodicals, writing first essays and later fiction. His first novel was Treasure Island in 1883, intended for his stepson, who collaborated with Stevenson on two later novels. Some of Stevenson's subsequent novels are insubstantial popular romances, but others possess a deepening psychological intensity. He also wrote a handful of plays in collaboration with W.E. Henley. In 1888, he left England for his health, and never returned, eventually settling in Samoa after travelling in the Pacific islands. His time here was one of relatively good health and considerable writing, as well as of deepening concern for the Polynesian islanders under European exploitation, expressed in fictional and factual writing from his final years, some of which was so contrary to contemporary culture that a full text remained unavailable until well after Stevenson's death. R. L. Stevenson died of a brain haemorrhage in 1894.
Would you listen to The Ebb-Tide again? Why?
I'd love to listen to it again someday, because The Ebb-Tide is such a suspenseful and thrilling adventure story with theft, betrayal, murder and much more... It is gorgeously performed as well.
What did you like best about this story?
The psychological and moral aspects are the most interesting elements of this story. It sort of captures your mind - watching the main characters giving a taste of their (worst and best) qualities and changing during the voyage.
Which character – as performed by Barnaby Edwards – was your favourite?
It's "a vulgar and bad-hearted cockney clerk". Ignoring some unpleasant personality traits of mister Huish, I'd say his cockney accent, brilliantly performed by Barnaby Edwards, is really delightful to hear!
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