Review Blog

Feb 20 2017

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

cover image

Usborne, 2016. ISBN 9781409581970
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Scotland, Jacobite Uprising, Adventure. When David Balfour leaves his home in 1751, after his parents' deaths, he is told by the local minister to go to the House of Shaws, there to claim his inheritance. David is baffled, he has no idea of just how he and his family could be related to the laird of this wealthy estate. But going there seals his fate when he meets his avaricious uncle, Ebenezer, the younger, who plots his death. After an unsuccessful attempt to cast David off the derelict tower, he is taken to the port on business and his uncle leaves him to be tied up and thrown into the bowels of the ship. But when the cabin boy dies, David becomes his replacement and here he sees the rescue of a boat containing several people off the Hebrides in Northern Scotland. The survivor is Alan Breck Stewart, a Jacobite with money to take to the Stuarts in their bid for the Scottish throne. David, a Presbyterian Scot from the Lowlands and so supporting George 111, and Jacobite Alan are on opposing sides of the political divide in Scotland, and each is suspicious of the other but circumstances see them cross paths several more times, developing a mutual respect and understanding between them.
A wonderfully adventurous story, Kidnapped was written in 1886 by Scottish author, Robert Louis Stevenson. This large edition has a brief outline of Stevenson and his work, a glossary which details the words modern readers may not know and an outline of the Jacobite Uprising of 1751. The whole is illustrated with pictures which reflect the times. Although seen as a 'boy's book', I thoroughly enjoyed reading it again. Some may find the language a little old fashioned, but once engrossed, the style matters not a jot. Story is all!
The Guardian's list of 100 Best Books Written in English has Kidnapped listed as number 24, after such worthies as Catch 22 and David Copperfield.
Fran Knight

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