Greece has its sun-soaked Cyclades and Dodecanese; Scotland its Northern Isles and rain-drenched Hebrides and Ireland the Arans and Skelligs.
And what has England got? The isles of Canvey, Sheppey, Wight and Dogs, Mersea, Brownsea, Two Tree and Rat.
But there are also wilder, rockier places - Lundy, the Scillies, Holy Island, the Farnes. These islands and their inhabitants not only cast varied lights on the mainland, they also possess their own peculiar stories: the Barbary slavers who once occupied Lundy; the ex-major who seized a wartime fort in the North Sea and declared himself Prince of Sealand; the wrecked munitions ship off the Isle of Sheppey that one day might unleash an unimaginable cataclysm, and much more besides. He also describes his encounters with island wildlife, from puffins to porpoises, and recounts the varied ways in which England's islands have been formed, and how they are constantly changing.