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Kidnappad by Robert Louis Stevenson

Kidnappad (original 1886; edition 1991)

by Robert Louis Stevenson, Christina von Haugwitz-Ideström

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,58381575 (3.75)290
Authors:Robert Louis Stevenson
Other authors:Christina von Haugwitz-Ideström
Info:Stockholm : Niloé, 1991 ;
Collections:Your library

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Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson (1886)

  1. 100
    Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (edjane)
  2. 30
    The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan (chrisharpe)
  3. 20
    Birthright: The True Story that Inspired Kidnapped by A. Roger Ekirch (kraaivrouw)
  4. 10
    The Amateur Emigrant / The Silverado Squatters by Robert Louis Stevenson (John_Vaughan)
  5. 00
    Middle Passage by Charles Johnson (thesmellofbooks)
    thesmellofbooks: Young men in dire straits on the open seas, a background of oppression, and historical richness are a few of the elements these books share. They are both ripping good yarns.
  6. 02
    Foundling by D. M. Cornish (Nikkles)

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English (78)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  All (81)
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In 1750s Scotland, young David Balfour is orphaned by the death of his father. His minister gives David a sealed envelope and instructs him to go to a particular town, where his Uncle Ebenezer ["Wha? I have an uncle? My father had a brother?"] is laird of the Shaws and give him the envelope. As he approaches his destination, he asks various passers-by for directions to the manor. Their replies foreshadow trouble.

…[S]pying an honest fellow coming along a lane on the shaft of his cart, I asked him if he had ever heard tell of a house they called the house of Shaws.
  He stopped his cart and looked at me, like the others. "Ay," said he. "What for?" "It's a great house?" I asked.
  "Doubtless," says he. "The house is a big, muckle house." "Ay," said I, "but the folk that are in it?" "Folk?" cried he. "Are ye daft? There's nae folk there—to call folk."
  "What?" says I; "not Mr. Ebenezer?"
  "Oh, ay," says the man, "there's the laird, to be sure, if it's him you're wanting. What'll like be your business, mannie?"
  "I was led to think that I would get a situation," I said, looking as modest as I could.
  "What?" cries the carter, in so sharp a note that his very horse started; and then, "Well, mannie," he added, "it's nane of my affairs; but ye seem a decent-spoken lad; and if ye'll take a word from me, ye'll keep clear of the Shaws."
  The next person I came across was a dapper little man in a beautiful white wig, whom I saw to be a barber on his rounds; and knowing well that barbers were great gossips, I asked him plainly what sort of a man was Mr. Balfour of the Shaws.
  "Hoot, hoot, hoot," said the barber, "nae kind of a man, nae kind of a man at all;" and began to ask me very shrewdly what my business was; but I was more than a match for him at that, and he went on to his next customer no wiser than he came.
  I cannot well describe the blow this dealt to my illusions. The more indistinct the accusations were, the less I liked them, for they left the wider field to fancy.

When the manor is found, it appears abandoned, a ruin, manifestly unwelcoming. But Uncle Ebenezer does live there, and he's even less welcoming than the house. Failing at prompting David to leave or to kill himself whilst running a deliberately hazardous (and spurious) errand, Ebenezer invites him along to business at the harbor. And whoops! David is kidnapped aboard a ship headed to Virginia. Now skeptical of one and all, David has to vet each officer and crewman; who can he trust? When the Second Mate kills the cabin boy (probably inadvertently; the mate was drunk), David is put in his place, which exposes him routinely to the Captain and both mates and allows him to eavesdrop on their talk.

As the map below shows, the ship hugs the coast, sailing north, then west, then south, only to founder on rocks.

Fierce weather north of the Hebrides diverted the ship south, between Scotland and the Hebrides. Along that track, a small craft is struck and sunk, but one survivor boards the ship. He's clad in a French officer's uniform, but says he's Scots and named Alan Breck. Almost immediately, David and Breck become a pair. When the ship sinks, the two link up and begin a journey across the country to bring Ebenezer to justice and claim leadership over the House of Shaws. Off they march, dodging Redcoats and the Scots clan that's in league with the English and thus bent on suppressing all the other clans. Adventure upon adventure. Come on! You know they'll succeed.

Robert Louis Stevenson was a master of the genre. Kidnapped was originally published in 1886 (the cover shown is that of the first American edition, also released in 1886). Its appeal was directed to boys of all ages, but that appeal dragged down its popularity as the 19th century drew to an end. Its reputation was restored in the early 1900s, and it's regarded as a classic adventure tale. I had never read it before; it deserves its status. Thumbs up! For RLS once again.

  weird_O | May 2, 2017 |
St. Barts 2017 #7 - Famous Stevenson tale that i have heard about my entire life, and as is usually the case, i cannot believe i have not ever read. So off on my vacation it came, and i read it at the same time as a friend. I certainly enjoyed the adventure, but the Scottish dialect language, even with the Stevenson-installed footnotes, and the very confusing political climate at the time of this story left me spinning more than i wanted. Scottish clan battles and English Kings obviously dominated daily lives at the time of this story, and having absolutely zero knowledge of the players and the motives, it was just a lot of distracting clutter to me. Our hero David Balfour does struggle mightily with many things not going his way, and tells this story with a certain charm and self-deprecating style that saves this for me. Lots of swashbuckling sea-faring excitement, some time spent on an island, & a healthy dose of eclectic characters challenge David as he struggles to survive his ordeal. I always thought of this as a children's book, but i think i was either wrong, or I am just way in over my head. Very glad that it is now on the pile of books i have read! ( )
  jeffome | Jan 23, 2017 |
This book is pretty much non-stop adventure. He's sent to live with his uncle who tries to cause him to have a fatal accident to keep him from his inheritance. When that doesn't work he tricks him on ship to be sold in slavery. His ship wrecks. He's marooned. He's continuously at the wrong place at the wrong time, getting caught up in a murder and other craziness. I'm interested enough that I'll read book 2 at some point. ( )
  ToniFGMAMTC | Jan 19, 2017 |
This book is pretty much non-stop adventure. He's sent to live with his uncle who tries to cause him to have a fatal accident to keep him from his inheritance. When that doesn't work he tricks him on ship to be sold in slavery. His ship wrecks. He's marooned. He's continuously at the wrong place at the wrong time, getting caught up in a murder and other craziness. I'm interested enough that I'll read book 2 at some point. ( )
  ToniFGMAMTC | Jan 19, 2017 |
I found it simplistic and believe it's description as a boy's adventure novel fitting. It gives some good lessons for "coming of age" young people. I liked the Scottish dialogue, learning a bit of history and the description of the countryside to be an enjoyable part of the book. ( )
  Kristelh | Sep 11, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (138 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stevenson, Robert Louisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brundage, FrancesIllustratormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brundage, FrancesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cosham, RalphNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Crossley, StevenNarratorsecondary 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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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,

First words
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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Disambiguation notice
This is the main work for Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. Do not combine with any abridgement, adaptation, etc.
This work is Stevensons's Kidnapped (unabridged).  Please do not combine with collected works, anthologies or abridged editions.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0439295785, Mass Market Paperback)

Stevenson's famous novel of seafaring adventure, with an introduction by TK

Shipwreck. Murder. Flight. Intrigue. And, of course, kidnapping. David Balfour's adventures on the high seas are among the most evocative in classic literature.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:30 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

In 1751 in Scotland, cheated out of his inheritance by a greedy uncle who has him kidnapped and put on a ship to the Carolinas, seventeen-year-old David Balfour escapes to the Highlands with the help of the Jacobite Alan Breck Stewart and there encounters further danger and intrigue as he attempts to clear his name and regain his property.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141441798, 0141326026, 0451531434

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