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Kidnapped (1886)

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: David Balfour (1)

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8,16991695 (3.75)320
A sixteen-year-old orphan is kidnapped by his villainous uncle, but later escapes and becomes involved in the struggle of the Scottish highlanders against English rule.
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» See also 320 mentions

English (88)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (91)
Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)
I think Robert Louis Stevenson's novel "Kidnapped" suffers in comparison to "Treasure Island," which is much superior. Overall, it's an OK adventure type story, but I really didn't like it.

The unfortunate David Balfour loses both his parents and is cheated by his uncle out of his fortune -- and kidnapped by sailors to boot. I really enjoyed the opening of the story and everything up to the shipwreck -- the running about the country parts got a bit too same old, same old by the end.

Overall, this was a mediocre read for me... I didn't hate it, but had a sort of "meh" reaction to it. ( )
  amerynth | Jun 27, 2020 |
The adventures of David Balfour, a young orphan, as he journeys through the dangerous Scottish Highlands in an attempt to regain his rightful inheritance.
Chronicles the amazing friendship he makes with a man of the Highlands of strangely opposing political views. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Stevenson based it on an actual murder trial of the era. ( )
  LindaLeeJacobs | Feb 15, 2020 |
I remember that when I was a small child, my father would read to us at night, and one of the books he read was Kidnapped. At the time, I had the impression that it was a wonderful tale. Then, a few years later, probably 5th or 6th grade, I tried reading Kidnapped on my own, and didn't much like it. I'm not sure I even finished. The beginning was too depressing. I'm pretty sure I then re-read the book in my 20s and liked it fine. This time around, I found it to be only so-so.

The only part I actually remembered from previous readings back in olden times was the beginning part, when David Balfour's uncle tries to kill him and then has him kidnapped, so that he would be taken off to Carolina to be sold as a slave, and thereby, no longer pose a threat to the uncle's keeping all of David's inheritance to himself.

But most of the book involves David's hooking up with a Highland outlaw, Alan Breck, and their working their way south through the Highlands back to where David could get a lawyer to deal with his avaricious uncle and where Alan could escape from the "red coats". I didn't much care for the character of Alan Breck. He was supposed to be a swash buckling romantic character, I suppose, but I found him childish, egotistical and tedious. David was by turns overly gullible and overly wise. I dunno, this didn't do much for me. YMMV.
( )
  lgpiper | Jun 21, 2019 |
This kid is tricked by his uncle. It's very adventurey and reminds me of Treasure Island, which makes sense, since this is by the same author.

Not really much else to say about this book. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
This was one of my very favoritest books when I was eleven or so, and it holds up pretty well now. David's adventures are saved from being too episodic (which I usually don't care for) by the drive to get home and claim his inheritance. Alan Breck Stewart (he bears a king's name!) is entertaining throughout, and there's a good deal of Scottish Highland politics, scenery, and culture, which is just as fascinating to me now as it was when I was a kid. I had forgotten just how long David and Alan mess about in the Highlands, going from one sympathetic family or clan to another (this bit is much shortened in the 1960 Disney movie, which I watched ad nauseam in the same period I was reading the book over and over). There's also an important bit as they exit the Highlands which was changed from book to film (and I think the film version is better). Overall an enjoyable read, and one which was enriched by the fact that since I'd last read it, I've been to some of the places where the book is set (particularly Edinburgh).

***For Book Club ~May 2019 ( )
  lycomayflower | Jun 1, 2019 |
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» Add other authors (113 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stevenson, Robert LouisAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brundage, FrancesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cheshire, GerardContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cosham, RalphNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Crossley, StevenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goble, WarwickIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hite, SidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lampén, O.E.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
O'Sullivan, TomIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oakley, GrahamIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Page, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rhead, LouisIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, LyndIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyeth, N.C.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Dedication
MY DEAR CHARLES BAXTER:

If you ever read this tale, you will likely ask yourself more questions than I should care to answer: as for instance how the Appin murder has come to fall in the year 1751, how the Torran rocks have crept so near to Earraid, or why the printed trial is silent as to all that touches David Balfour. These are nuts beyond my ability to crack. But if you tried me on the point of Alan's guilt or innocence, I think I could defend the reading of the text. To this day you will find the tradition of Appin clear in Alan's favour. If you inquire, you may even hear that the descendants of "the other man" who fired the shot are in the country to this day. But that other man's name, inquire as you please, you shall not hear; for the Highlander values a secret for itself and for the congenial exercise of keeping it I might go on for long to justify one point and own another indefensible; it is more honest to confess at once how little I am touched by the desire of accuracy. This is no furniture for the scholar's library, but a book for the winter evening school-room when the tasks are over and the hour for bed draws near; and honest Alan, who was a grim old fire-eater in his day has in this new avatar no more desperate purpose than to steal some young gentleman's attention from his Ovid, carry him awhile into the Highlands and the last century, and pack him to bed with some engaging images to mingle with his dreams.

As for you, my dear Charles, I do not even ask you to like this tale. But perhaps when he is older, your son will; he may then be pleased to find his father's name on the fly-leaf; and in the meanwhile it pleases me to set it there, in memory of many days that were happy and some (now perhaps as pleasant to remember) that were sad. If it is strange for me to look back from a distance both in time and space on these bygone adventures of our youth, it must be stranger for you who tread the same streets--who may to-morrow open the door of the old Speculative, where we begin to rank with Scott and Robert Emmet and the beloved and inglorious Macbean--or may pass the corner of the close where that great society, the L. J. R., held its meetings and drank its beer, sitting in the seats of Burns and his companions. I think I see you, moving there by plain daylight, beholding with your natural eyes those places that have now become for your companion a part of the scenery of dreams. How, in the intervals of present business, the past must echo in your memory! Let it not echo often without some kind thoughts of your friend,

R.L.S. SKERRYVORE, BOURNEMOUTH.
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I will begin the story of my adventures with a certain morning early in the month of June, the year of grace 1751, when I took the key for the last time out of the door of my father's house.
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This is the main work for Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. Do not combine with any abridgement, adaptation, etc.
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See also the 'Introduction to the classics' segment on BBC Radio 4's "Open Book" programme, 17 May 2020, with Ian Rankin talking about 'Kidnapped'. Starting at 10:00 (available for over a year).
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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141441798, 0141326026, 0451531434

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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Urban Romantics

An edition of this book was published by Urban Romantics.

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