Rereading: DREAM GOLD by David Severn

David Severn was the pen name of David Unwin, son of publisher Stanley Unwin. Even though his many books for young readers were published by The Bodley Head, not his father’s firm Allen & Unwin, he probably thought it best not to use his real name. David kind of had two careers as a children’s’ book author. First he wrote summer adventure series books that I quite like, and will reread eventually. Later he began writing more serious and at times darker stories of mystery, suspense, and the paranormal, and this is one of those. It takes place on the coast of Cornwall, and reminds me of the work of Daphne du Maurier.

Peter Mannings becomes friends with Guy Trelawney at school, and is invited to stay at the Trelawney home on the coast of Cornwall over the holidays. When he arrives, he’s startled to see what a strange home it is, ancient and stone-built on a small rocky island out in the ocean reached by a causeway only passable at low tide. The home and inhabitants are as gloomy and frightening as the house, and even Guy doesn’t seem all that friendly, but at night, a strange new world opens up to both Guy and Peter as they share the same dreams of a tropical island in the past. Guy apparently knows all about this, but only says they’re waiting for the arrival of a sailing ship. The dreams seem completely real, and continue from night to night in sequence.

When the ship arrives, the boys observe the captain, Thomas Pendean, and the man who chartered the voyage, Guy’s ancestor John Trelawney and their crew as they dig up pirate treasure from the beach. In a later dream there’s treachery, and a battle between those loyal to each man. Back in the real world, Guy reveals that the real ship sank with the treasure right next to the Trelawney house, where no one has yet been able to retrieve it from the dangerous waters, and a curse on the family has led to many Trelawneys dying by drowning. Guy is determined to get the treasure at all costs, but will he meet the same end?

An exciting, suspenseful story that builds relentlessly to a surprising ending. Recommended.

Dream Gold by David Severn

One thought on “Rereading: DREAM GOLD by David Severn

  1. anton roderick christian

    I read Dream gold as a kid at school, then later, It is a brilliant magical story and would make a fabulous film.

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