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The Wrecker (1892) is a novel written by Robert Louis Stevenson in collaboration with his stepson Lloyd Osbourne.
The story is a "sprawling, episodic adventure story, a comedy of brash manners and something of a detective mystery", according to Roderick Watson. It revolves around the abandoned wreck of the Flying Scud at Midway Atoll. Clues in a stamp collection are used to track down the missing crew and solve the mystery. It is only in the last chapter that different story elements become linked. Stevenson described it as a "South Sea yarn" concerning "a very strange and defective plan that was accepted with open eyes for what seemed countervailing opportunities offered". The book sold well but reviews were mixed, with a New York Times reviewer concluding that:
The Wrecker is a kind of blank-cartridge romance with a big explosion, which raises a dust, and if anything really has happened it escapes you in the flash and the cloud of smoke.
The loosely connected stories reflect how Stevenson and Osbourne wrote the book. Each contributed different sections, but agreed to develop characters and descriptions of places they both knew well. The following are examples:
The schooner Equator (1888-1953) inspired the story. Its remains are preserved in a shed at Marina Park at the Port of Everett, Washington.
Jack Buckland was a handsome, happy-go-lucky fellow passenger with Osbourne and Stevenson on the 1890 Janet Nicholl voyage. He inspired the character of "Remittance Man" Tommy Hadden.