The novel was the work of Robert Louis Stevenson. Born in 1850, he was an accomplished novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer who, alongside Treasure Island, also wrote two other hugely popular works of fiction: Kidnapped and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, together with ten other novels, and over 20 short stories.
The son of a prosperous civil engineer, he was expected to follow the family profession but went on instead to study law at Edinburgh University. He grew up in a devout and serious Presbyterian household, though he later came to reject Christianity and declared himself an atheist, leading to alienation from his parents.
In his early twenties he became afflicted with a severe respiratory illness from which he was to suffer for the rest of his life – much of it spent searching for a climate kind to his fragile health. Contemporary views are that he had tuberculosis or bronchiectasis.
Stevenson travelled extensively all his life and in 1880, following a trip across the USA he married an American, Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne, who he had met and travelled with two years earlier.