The Perils of Certain English Prisoners (1857), the novella by Charles Dickens, which followed other texts about South America in Household Words, takes the form of a tale of captivity and escape: When the pirates attack Silver-Store Island (in the vicinity of the British colony of Belize) aided by the turncoat King, they murder a number of the British colonists before stealing the silver and taking a number of the survivors hostage before retreating to the interior of Honduras. Under the combined initiative of Miss Maryon and Davis, the captives manage to escape down river. Dickens's views appear to be voiced by his narrator, Gill Davis, the plain-spoken private in the Royal Marines, who to an extent anticpates Kipling's proletarian defenders of empire. A benign miles gloriousus — the braggart soldier of classical and Shakespearean tradition — Davis responds to the solemn beauty of the Central American jungle in a manner sometimes sentimental and sometimes comic, and the illiterate soldier speaks positively about the "accommodations" that the British garrison and colonists have made with local customs, especially in describing Sambo. Dickens' model of the passive defensive fantasy in "Perils" is found in the protection of Belize, the women and children, by Pordage and his officials. Pordage's approach is portrayed as heavily flawed. During the attack, he continues to benevolently trust the natives: 'it was considered that the friendly Sambos would only want to be commanded in case of any danger'. The success of the pirate attack leaves Pordage incapable of aiding the British citizens. Author Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the 20th century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories enjoy lasting popularity. Born in Portsmouth, Dickens left school to work in a factory when his father was incarcerated in a debtors' prison. Despite his lack of formal education, he edited a weekly journal for 20 years, wrote 15 novels, five novellas, hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles, lectured and performed readings extensively, was an indefatigable letter writer, and campaigned vigorously for children's rights, education, and other social reforms. Dickens's literary success began with the 1836 serial publication of The Pickwick Papers. Within a few years he had become an international literary celebrity, famous for his humour, satire, and keen observation of character and society. His novels, most published in monthly or weekly instalments, pioneered the serial publication of narrative fiction, which became the dominant Victorian mode for novel publication. Cliffhanger endings in his serial publications kept readers in suspense. The instalment format allowed Dickens to evaluate his audience's reaction, and he often modified his plot and character development based on such feedback. For example, when his wife's chiropodist expressed distress at the way Miss Mowcher in David Copperfield seemed to reflect her disabilities, Dickens improved the character with positive features. His plots were carefully constructed, and he often wove elements from topical events into his narratives.