The Adventures of Swiss Family Robinson – Plot Synopsis – Book Three: Invasion
Third/fourth month. The family are still battling against the forces of Mother nature (and often themselves) and are looking forward to their first harvest, which they plan to celebrate on the Fourth of July, American Independence Day. Ernst, however, is still hopeful of rescue, so that he can build a career( as a writer ) for himself back in civilisation.
Unknown to anyone a ship is heading towards the island. She is The Viper, a notorious pirate ship captained by the rascally “Captain” Samuel Scaggs and his ex-convict partner, Bonnie Mary.
Ben is excited when he sees a ship heading for the Robinsons’s island. Parsons recognises The Viper and advises that he has a mate on board. Ben wants to warn the Robinson family, (probably due to his continuing infatuation with Joanna ), but Parsons says the pirates will gain his revenge on David Robinson for him.
Hunting for wild turkey, Ernst and Billy encounter Scaggs and his landing party. Believing Scaggs to be an honourable man, Ernst accepts his invitation to go aboard, but Billy has second thoughts. Billy’s fears are soon realised when Scaggs makes Ernst walk the plank, believing he is lying about there being no-one else on the island. Parsons arrives and tells Scaggs about the Robinson family.
The family are surprised at night and overrun by the pirates. Scaggs and Mary take possession of the treehouse – and show no signs of being in a hurry to leave…
Parsons convinces Scaggs that David killed his brother and Scaggs decides to hold a trial, with himself as judge, jury and hangman.
Ernst escapes from imprisonment on the pirate ship and almost rescues the family, before being overcome. Scaggs finds David guilty and sentences him to hang. Elizabeth pleads successfully for his life, saying that the family will stay on the island and provide Scaggs with a safe haven and regular food from their little farm. Parsons is furious at David’s reprieve and Ben has to prevent him from killing David himself.
Despite his piracy, Scaggs regards himself as a true-blue Englishman. When he discovers the family plan to celebrate the Fourth of July, he is enraged. He demands that David renounce America and swear an oath of loyalty to the English Crown. David and the rest of the family refuse, and Scaggs orders them to be put to death.
The family are saved when Billy pretends that the feverish Emily has smallpox. Terrified of this deadly contagious disease, the pirates flee, leaving Parsons to beat a hasty retreat from David’s musket.
Even though the pirates have destroyed most of their crops and animals, and they will have to start afresh, the family celebrate their Fourth of July and their freedom from tyranny.