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The Island (Benchley novel) cover

The Island is a novel written by Peter Benchley. It was first published in 1979.


Two men and a boy, on the boat they charter to game-fishermen, are lazing away the hottest hours of a Caribbean day when they notice a cameo which appears to be adrift. They maneuver it alongside their boat, one of the men reaches to pull back the tarpaulin which conceals whatever it contains—and the reader receives a jolting shock which reminds him of those famous first pages of Jaws.

Thus starts one of the many mysterious marine incidents which, over the years, have been explained this way or that, and which in one small area of the Caribbean have given rise to a terrified silence. New York journalist Blair Maynard is intrigued by the variety of the explanations, but it is not until he reaches the place where silence reigns, and can see the silhouette of the island at its center, that he begins to suspect that he is on to something truly extraordinary.

He lands on that island—the strangest island in all the West Indies, indeed in the modern world; and the adventures he undergoes on it would seem incredible were they not tied in with possibility by a brilliant use of historical fact. The events Maynard is investigating become increasingly fascinating with every perilous discovery he makes. Peter Benchley is justly celebrated for his ability to keep any reader on the edge of his chair from first to last, and this time he exercises his precious gift on a story which is both the strangest and the best he has yet conceived.