Published three years after the hugely popular ‘The Coral Island’, ‘The Gorilla Hunters’ is the sequel to the original tale by author R.M. Ballantyne. We are reunited with the young adventurers Ralph, Peterkin, and Jack six years on from their original adventure in the South Seas. The boys decide to visit Africa, to seek out the elusive gorilla. Whilst there, they take part in the now shocking sport of shooting and killing several animals to take home as trophies for museums and schools. The trio also interact with locals – though not always successfully. Very much of its time, ‘The Gorilla Hunters’ is nevertheless an exciting adventure novel.
R.M. Ballantyne (1825-1894) was a Scottish artist and prolific author of mostly children’s fiction. Born in Edinburgh, Ballantyne was the ninth of ten children. At the age of 16 Ballantyne moved to Canada, where he worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company, travelling all over the country to trade for fur. He returned to Scotland in 1847 following the death of his father, and it was then that he began his literary career in earnest, writing over 100 children’s adventure books over the course of his life. Stories such as ‘The Coral Island’ and ‘The Young Fur Traders’ were hugely popular, and many of them drew on his own experiences of travelling throughout Canada. A stickler for detail, Ballantyne continued to travel widely to research the backgrounds and settings for his exciting stories. His tales became an inspiration for authors of the future, including ‘Treasure Island’ novelist Robert Louis Stevenson. Ballantyne spent the latter period of his life living in London and Italy for the sake of his health. He died in Rome in 1894 at the age of 68.