Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson, a novel written for boys and first published in 1886, is a book I've read twice now: the first time because it sounded interesting, and the second time to give it another chance after I wearily trudged my way through it the first time. Turns out the reading experience both times was identical, worst luck.

It follows the fortunes, or misfortunes rather, of David Balfour and is set in the mid-18th Century in Scotland after the Jacobite risings of 1745. David is recently orphaned, his mother dying when he was very young and his father just before the novel begins. He decides to leave the lowlands and head to Edinburgh to make his fortune. Before he leaves he is informed that he has an uncle - a rich uncle -  Ebenezer Balfour, so he goes there to claim kinship. Once in the village, Cramond, he learns that Ebenezer is a particularly hated member of the community and with good reason: he's stingy, cruel, and though after David arrives he gives him money, he also tries to kill him! Shortly after, another low character arrives, Hoseason, who appears to be very nice and charming however he lures David on to a ship which promptly departs for the Carolinas and David is knocked unconscious as he shouts for help. He is eventually saved however when the ship, the Convenant, is involved in a collision, and he meets Alan Breck Stewart: together their adventures begin!

It is, as I've said, a novel for boys, young boys, so naturally a woman in her thirties may not be so keen. But it is a good novel, however tedious I may have found it. One of the key themes is the politics of Scotland: the Jacobite Risings, the Appin murder in North Argyll (though the chief suspect was believed to be a soldier, Allan Breck Stewart, when he fled it was James Stewart who was hung for it), and the differences between those living in the lowlands or the borders (David Belford, a Whig) and the highlands (Allan Breck Stewart). These difference between the two lead characters makes their friendship all the more interesting and remarkable. For those who like historical novels and action novels, I think this would be perfect.


  1. i think i liked it: i read everything i got my hands on when young including this one... and just recently i read Catriona, which, demonstrating on some level S's universal appeal, i liked also... hard to beat S for sheer entertainment...

    1. Well, I'm looking forward to re-reading Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde soon - that's a great one! Other than that and this, not sure I've read much Stevenson. I've got Treasure Island (can't recall reading it but I might have done) and The Master of Ballantrae, which certainly looks interesting :)


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