The Coral Island, published in 1858 and one of his earliest books, is his best memorial today. It is a retelling of the potent myth of the castaway. Three young sailors, sole survivors of a wreck, discover the enchanting beauty of the South Pacific and learn to hunt and fish, and to build a shelter.
Fifteen-year-old Ralph, mischievous young Peterkin and clever, brave Jack are shipwrecked on a coral reef with only a telescope and a broken pocketknife between them. At first the island seems a paradise, with its plentiful foods and wealth of natural wonders. But then a party of cannibals arrives, and after that a pirate ship...what is to become of them?