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Kidnapped PDF, ePub eBook Tricked by the uncle who has stolen his inheritance, young David Balfour is kidnapped and bound for America. Or at least that was the plan, until the ship runs into trouble and David is rescued by Alan Breck Stewart, fugitive Jacobite and, by his own admission, a ‘bonny fighter’. Balfour, a canny lowlander, finds an echo of some wilder and more romantic self in the wilful Tricked by the uncle who has stolen his inheritance, young David Balfour is kidnapped and bound for America. Or at least that was the plan, until the ship runs into trouble and David is rescued by Alan Breck Stewart, fugitive Jacobite and, by his own admission, a ‘bonny fighter’. Balfour, a canny lowlander, finds an echo of some wilder and more romantic self in the wilful and courageous Highland spirit of Alan Breck. A strange and difficult friendship is born, as their adventures begin. Kidnapped has become a classic of historical romance the world over and is justly famous as a novel of travel and adventure in the Scottish landscape. Stevenson’s vivid descriptive powers were never better than in his account of remote places and dangerous action in the Highlands in the years after Culloden. ‘A cracking tale of low skulduggery and high adventure, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped has enthralled generations of readers since its first publication in 1886. A book for thrill-seekers of all ages, this romp through Jacobite Scotland is a true classic.’ Sunday Herald ‘A delicately balanced book, expertly controlled, sharply focused, and written with an affectionate irony. It is perhaps the finest of Stevenson’s novels.’ Jenni Calder

30 review for Kidnapped

  1. 5 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    You are seventeen Mr. David Balfour, alone in the world of 1751, in troubled Scotland, a futile bloody revolt was crushed a few years ago, by England, the parents are no more, father never spoke about his family, or the distant past , the poor, quiet introvert, a widowed school master, of the lowlands, has left his good, loving son a... Mysterious letter, (both of them had deep secrets) for you. Go from your birthplace , a small village, the only one you know, and take the message to a lawyer Mr You are seventeen Mr. David Balfour, alone in the world of 1751, in troubled Scotland, a futile bloody revolt was crushed a few years ago, by England, the parents are no more, father never spoke about his family, or the distant past , the poor, quiet introvert, a widowed school master, of the lowlands, has left his good, loving son a... Mysterious letter, (both of them had deep secrets) for you. Go from your birthplace , a small village, the only one you know, and take the message to a lawyer Mr. Rankeillor, in the frightening, huge, cosmopolitan city of Edinburgh; by foot you must travel, a two day walk. Meeting strangers good or bad on the roads...who can tell? Should you turn back, it would be so easy; or follow your late father's wishes and risk the unknown dangers. But first he arrives at the home of his Uncle Ebenezer, a person he never knew existed, that name alone for most people would give them a clue about this gentleman's character. His father's brother is a great miser, so cheap he lives like a pauper in his big mansion, uncompleted, the reason, obviously he can't spend any money, will not light a fire but in one fireplace, eats porridge and drinks a little beer the cheapest he can find. Paranoid in the extreme, his sick mind hates anybody that threatens him even if it is not true. After an unsuccessful plot to eliminate his naive nephew in the dark tower, a better one bears fruit. A sea captain named Elias Hoseason, agrees to kidnap the boy, for a nice fee, and sell him in the colonies of the Carolinas in America , they need slaves for the cotton plantations...However, plans are plans and you can not tell what the future brings, storms, reefs, fogs and the unexpected, anything is possible on a liquid surface. Alan Breck Stewart, with a sack of money is wanted by the Crown as a Scottish rebel, the only survivor of a shipwreck off the coast of Britain, caused by the less than honorable captain, picked up in a thick fog. Nevertheless, greed wins out and the crew desires the valuable coins, killing a man doesn't bother them. Mr. David, is appalled, helps the fugitive escape and he too, later in the best section of the classic novel... A long grueling crossing , the highlands of Scotland, trying to avoid capture by the Red Coats and the hangman's rope, a murder has just occurred. And Alan blamed...Such splendid adventures follow, as the two new friends flee on the rugged terrain of the north country's hills, valleys, rivers and bays, always moving, never resting, hiding in woods, the tall grass, on top of rocks, in caves, anywhere available, getting assistance from loyal relatives of Alan and his clan. A wonderful book for the young at heart, indubitably.

  2. 5 out of 5

    James Tivendale

    "I have seen wicked men and fools, a great many of both, and I believe they both get paid in the end, but the fools first." We find ourselves in Bonny old Scotland - circa June 1751 - King George and the red-coats rule this empire. Following on from the Jacobite Revolution; we are introduced to an innocent teenage gentleman known as David Balfour. To initiate the narrative; David and the minister, Mr. Campbell discuss the necessity for a journey that our young hero should take following the unti "I have seen wicked men and fools, a great many of both, and I believe they both get paid in the end, but the fools first." We find ourselves in Bonny old Scotland - circa June 1751 - King George and the red-coats rule this empire. Following on from the Jacobite Revolution; we are introduced to an innocent teenage gentleman known as David Balfour. To initiate the narrative; David and the minister, Mr. Campbell discuss the necessity for a journey that our young hero should take following the untimely death of both his parents. He is entrusted with a letter that was written from his father's very own hand which cannot be opened until it is delivered to a certain individual = his conniving uncle who happens to be, of course; a close family member of Young Balfour. His uncle represents the Scottish House "Shaw" - the destination of the aforementioned is close to Edinburgh and so David treks as a young 18-year-old person would. Maybe even skipping across the glen in bonnie pretty spirits ay lad? Is everyone in fiction who is called Ebeneezer a scumbag? David journeys for a few days across the lowlands of Scotland including Cramond, Colinton until the sight of the Glasgow Road is in his peripheral vision. At this point, he knew he was close to the presented described destination. After these travels to start his (what would turn out to be) journey, he meets his uncle. I will not say too much but upon their meeting, after slight consideration, David realises his uncle is a slimy, sinister snake who has stolen his inheritance. After that Ebeneezer undermines David's intelligence after failing in a notorious plot to kill him - David; only because of his (soon to be but present in this tale) heroic wit - that is already bubbling below the surface - the mean uncle arranges for him to be "K1dnapped"! (Some book title on GR you have to spell wrong or it deletes them and makes reviewers look like a sausage!) This book was so amazing - that if I was to truly analyse it. I would probably write more pages than Mr. Stevenson did. I will not divulge too much into the intricacies of the story but essentially David's mean uncle sells him out - literally. David is a lord by name and paper but Ebeneezer pays pirates money to send David to Carolina to become a slave worker. On his journey on said pirate ship they impale a boat and a gentleman called Alan Breck joins the fray. That is all I will say story wise so don't worry. The journey continues. It is David's voyage away from and journey back to his rightful estate that is the "lions share" of the novel. My father is a Scottish History lecturer - so every time I mentioned a character in this book as I was reading - he would tell me how legitimate they were at being presented by Stevenson in this era as the majority were real characters/ people in this amazingly interesting but dark age. E.g. Alan Breck, James of the Glens, Red Fox, Robin Oig (Rob Roys' Son). If you read this book - your mind will flow in a Scottish accent 100%. As a non-Scottish reader - do you know what these words mean that are prevalent? If I wasn't half Scottish I may have struggled... didnae, auld, dram, ay, keek, lassie, ken, kenned, gliff, whigh etc... Following this colloquial language. It cannot get more Scottish than one amazing scene. Two gents challenge each other for a dual, but instead of deadly combat with pistols and ten steps etc... they settle on a bagpipe showdown!! There is a huge divide between the "hielands" and the lowlands. England analysed Scotland as one country at this stage but all of the Clan's saw many different countries in Scotland. In the highlands - people mostly only speak Gaelic which alienates David in their presence. The closer the south of Scotland you were... the more English you were.. does that play a part perhaps? To me, I would probably give this 3.75 stars. Not as much happens in this as Treasure Island. However; I enjoyed losing myself in the world of my forefathers. I am named after Scottish kings y'know. I will check out the film later. Love as always- James www.youandibooks.wordpress.com

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    While Stevenson’s Kidnapped was not quite as strong a work as either Treasure Island or his incredibly gripping The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, it was such an exciting, action-packed, genuinely fun adventure story that I couldn’t help but love it. Set in 1751, it features such thrilling elements as a sinister, foul-tempered uncle, a ship full of villainous sailors, a shipwreck on a gloomy, deserted island, political intrigue, Murder!, the perilous proximity of the Red Coats on the S While Stevenson’s Kidnapped was not quite as strong a work as either Treasure Island or his incredibly gripping The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, it was such an exciting, action-packed, genuinely fun adventure story that I couldn’t help but love it. Set in 1751, it features such thrilling elements as a sinister, foul-tempered uncle, a ship full of villainous sailors, a shipwreck on a gloomy, deserted island, political intrigue, Murder!, the perilous proximity of the Red Coats on the Scottish Highlands, and much, much more. Plus, I found the young protagonist, David, extremely likable and relatable; he was good-hearted, loyal, intelligent and brave, but not unbelievably (or irritatingly) so. All in all, he was a wonderful companion I found myself enthusiastically rooting for, which always makes a story that much more engrossing. Highly recommended!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    Why haven't I read more Stevenson? Perhaps because from what I can tell his writing feels as remote and cold as the Scottish Isles. It can be beautiful in its way, but you often forget it's there in favor of more popular destinations with more color and pizzazz. In a way, Kidnapped feels a little like the Scottish version of Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo, which I was never overly fond of. Something about the story doesn't grab me. Although it should, as I just recently endured a similar situa Why haven't I read more Stevenson? Perhaps because from what I can tell his writing feels as remote and cold as the Scottish Isles. It can be beautiful in its way, but you often forget it's there in favor of more popular destinations with more color and pizzazz. In a way, Kidnapped feels a little like the Scottish version of Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo, which I was never overly fond of. Something about the story doesn't grab me. Although it should, as I just recently endured a similar situation where in my business was done out of a contract by someone essentially claiming to be me. Usurping my anticipated profits by saying they took over my business is more precise. A dastardly bastardly thing to do. So, these sorts of stories should wring pity and 5 stars out of my bleeding heart, but they don't. Perhaps it's something to do with the writing style of the times. It's a little stiff, actions are a bit telegraphed. That's tough though, because I suppose all literature may very well suffer from such ravages of time, to be thrown upon the scrap one day because readers have moved on, sped up, and become jaded. Fuck, I'm getting melodramatic in my old age... Anywho... SO glad I waited to read Kidnapped until now. If I'd read this in high school like I was supposed to I would have missed so much...hell, I wouldn't have understood even half of what was said! But now that I'm more familiar with UK history, Scottish accents and old timey slang, I can actually sit back and enjoy something like Kidnapped, rather than be mired under every time the brogue overtakes me.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    This is in the olden days when there wasn’t anything except boats and cows. No phones, no movies, nothing. Who would want to live there, right? But see some people did, and they had to or we wouldn't be here with all our stuff. They had to like go without so we could rock and roll. That's deep. So for entertainment they would play funny tricks on each other, like this guy’s uncle sells this guy into slavery even though this is a Scottish guy, so he gets coshed and wakes up on a boat to the US of This is in the olden days when there wasn’t anything except boats and cows. No phones, no movies, nothing. Who would want to live there, right? But see some people did, and they had to or we wouldn't be here with all our stuff. They had to like go without so we could rock and roll. That's deep. So for entertainment they would play funny tricks on each other, like this guy’s uncle sells this guy into slavery even though this is a Scottish guy, so he gets coshed and wakes up on a boat to the US of A but then this guy and this other guy who is like the low tech James Bond of the total Highlands they take over the boat and then it gets wrecked, that part is okay, there is some good fighting, the sailors get melted. But then there is way too much heather. Which they have to tramp through for days, no water, no entertainment except whistling, that seemed to be the thing they did instead of streaming. These days you would be having some trouble whistling modern music, like say Jeckyll and Hyde* by Five Finger Death Punch, go ahead, whistle that. So that was dull. Ouch this heather hurts. Oh dear, I am sleeping in some water. (Well then don’t, is what I thought.) In the end it all comes right but I thought they should of hacked the uncle to death with a cow’s antler but they didn’t. *course all you gr types know already that Jeckyll & Hide was written by the same guy that did Kidnapped which I don’t get as J&H is really intense anyway the graphic version

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jan-Maat

    Swashbuckling fun, but the problem I have with this rereading it as an adult is the same as reading The Black Arrow. Stevenson manages to be both engaging and silly - sometimes at the same moment, but luckily the human brain is capable of multi-tasking even in the middle of a paragraph. Isn't the relationship between Alexander and Ebenezer Balfour which drives the narrative too ridiculous? The elder brother giving up his inheritance and becoming an out of luck village teacher is one thing and har Swashbuckling fun, but the problem I have with this rereading it as an adult is the same as reading The Black Arrow. Stevenson manages to be both engaging and silly - sometimes at the same moment, but luckily the human brain is capable of multi-tasking even in the middle of a paragraph. Isn't the relationship between Alexander and Ebenezer Balfour which drives the narrative too ridiculous? The elder brother giving up his inheritance and becoming an out of luck village teacher is one thing and hard enough to believe (why not just split the inheritance or pay him off or set him up in a profession?) but such a story must have got all over the countryside. It is hard to believe that David, or at least the pastor, Mr Cameron would have been ignorant of it. At least Stevenson kept back that detail until the end, but still I wonder why he didn't think of a different way to drive the story – say Ebenezer tricking his brother in some way or framing him for a crime. More or less anything would have been more plausible than the story he does use. On the plus side I liked the sense of the cultural differences between the lowlanders and the Highlanders which comes through strongly, although I was not sure how far the prejudices against the highlanders reflected Stevenson's own views or what he felt would be a reasonable reflection of those held by contemporary lowlanders. Alternatively this is a moment in a children's book in which the child's moral values and intellectual capabilities are shown to be superior to that of an adult. That perhaps is the secret of Stevenson's success - it is there in Treasure Island and The Black Arrow too. The child can outwit the wicked uncle, the pirate, or the wicked uncle disguised as a leper (as they so frequently are). The child lost in an adult world triumphs through their own ability. And the characters and settings are sharp and vivid, Sandy's devotion to the memory of Alan Breck in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie seems more reasonable than the obsessions harboured by her teacher (view spoiler)[ but to be fair, I'm not a fan of Mussolini (hide spoiler)] . Other parts of the story don't make much sense. Alan Breck apparently travels regularly between the Highlands and France but seems not to have a regular route or a trusted set of regular contacts (& if he was in a row-boat on his way to rendezvous with a French ship neither he nor the ship the Covenant could have been so far from Alan's stamping grounds as for narrative purposes they turn out to be. It should have been a simple matter to stick him in a row-boat and take him straight to shore. It's all an unnecessary contrivance. Later I find it mystifying that when leaving the house of his kinsman Breck is given only a couple of pennies but two days later on the heather when he sends a message the same kinsman is able to come up with several guineas in a short order. OK I can understand the situation is stressed and hurried, but equally these are meant to be people living under a harsh regime and used to having Breck drift in and out secretly on clan business, as a reader I don't expect them to be quite so innocent. In narrative terms it serves only to demonstrate how Breck communicates and interacts with the clan network because the money is never used in practical economic exchange but is instead lost at cards at the first opportunity. But the general impression is that the Highlanders are inept and less morally developed than the child hero - particularly here I'm thinking of David's attitude towards the card playing of the Clan Chief. That's by the by. Worse the trail of instructions left by Alan Breck for David to follow would have served to bring both friend and foe to the house of Alan's kinsman. Particularly as David doesn't speak Gaelic and has to discover the political lay of the land as he makes his journey. It doesn't suggest a particularly skilled conspirator, but then the Jacobites did loose I suppose, so maybe that's the point. If you read The Wind in the Willows you know it's an animal fable and so you accept that a Vole and a Badger can be friends or that a Toad can disguise himself as a washerwoman and not be recognised. On the other hand if a story appears to be realistic and is set amongst amidst the political intrigue of Scotland after the '45 then you expect the adult characters to behave appropriately or to get hanged. So I'm left wondering if Stevenson was just not very thoughtful in how he put the story together, or was just very condescending in how he viewed the highlanders and their capabilities, or if he expected the late Victorian reading public to wolf down his stories more eagerly than their porridge and still ask for more. What does the Gaelic anti-defamation league think? Best hope the children don't ask too many questions. And if they do - tell them it's like a Scotch egg - you have to deal with the mince before you can get at the egg.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Piyangie

    Kidnapped is an adventurous young adult story. The main protagonist, young David Balfour, having become an orphan, takes on a journey to find his uncle seeking support and fortune. Little he knows of the adventure that he is to embark on, upon meeting his wicked uncle. (view spoiler)[ These include being Kidnapped to be sold for slavery, made a friend of a Jacobite, becomes shipwrecked, find himself in a deserted island, becomes a fugitive before finally coming to the happy note of securing his Kidnapped is an adventurous young adult story. The main protagonist, young David Balfour, having become an orphan, takes on a journey to find his uncle seeking support and fortune. Little he knows of the adventure that he is to embark on, upon meeting his wicked uncle. (view spoiler)[ These include being Kidnapped to be sold for slavery, made a friend of a Jacobite, becomes shipwrecked, find himself in a deserted island, becomes a fugitive before finally coming to the happy note of securing his inheritance and fortune. (hide spoiler)] David is a likable hero. Throughout his adventurous journey, David's courage, strength and loyalty are tested, from which he emerges as a true winner. Rest of the characters is chosen well by the author to set the tone and pace to the story. Many, including the principal contributing character, David's Jacobite friend Alan Breck Stewart are real people which made the story interesting and all the more real. David's adventurous journey takes the reader through the picturesque Scottish highlands acquainting the reader with its geography and a little of the culture of highlanders. The historical backdrop to the story is the aftermath of the Jacobite rising, where Jacobites were hunted, the Highland clans who supported the Jacobite movement were scattered - their powers surrendered, pride bruised, chiefs in exile. It is easy to comprehend that Stevenson was a sympathizer of them. The story is well written with a mixture of English and Scottish Lowland dialog. And there was more warmth and feeling in the writing which was a pleasant contrast to the distant and detached writing I have so far observed in other Stevenson works that I have read. Overall, coupled with true historical facts, picturesque highland setting and beautiful writing, Kidnapped is a great adventure story. I enjoyed it very much. But young David's story does not end here. I would certainly read the sequel to learn the rest of his story.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    "Alan," cried I, "what makes ye so good to me? What makes ye care for such a thankless fellow?" "'Deed and I don't know," said Alan. "For just precisely what I thought I liked about ye, was that ye never quarrelled--and now I like ye better!" Historical fiction, an adventure story, but also a great "buddy story". The plot follows young David, who is cheated out of his inheritance by a greedy uncle, and kidnapped into servitude on a sailing ship. The ship hits a small boat during a fog and picks up "Alan," cried I, "what makes ye so good to me? What makes ye care for such a thankless fellow?" "'Deed and I don't know," said Alan. "For just precisely what I thought I liked about ye, was that ye never quarrelled--and now I like ye better!" Historical fiction, an adventure story, but also a great "buddy story". The plot follows young David, who is cheated out of his inheritance by a greedy uncle, and kidnapped into servitude on a sailing ship. The ship hits a small boat during a fog and picks up Alan Breck Stewart, a renegade Highlander. Set in the period following the failed Scottish rebellion, a reader not well-versed in the history might have difficulty following the politics and the dialect of the Scots. It's a grand adventure story, though, with the friendship between the two quite different main characters providing light-hearted moments, narrow escapes, and a fitting, but bittersweet ending.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Duane

    I don't know how the rest of young David Balfour's life turns out, but his early adventures where amazing. Set in 18th century Scotland during the Jacobite period, David, a loyalist to King George, and his friend Alan Stewart, a Jacobite, seemingly travel the entirety of the Scottish Highlands hiding in the rocks and heather from rival clans and the British Army. Character lessons abound, especially for young David. Just a fun book to read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Werner

    While the above description suggests, misleadingly, that all of protagonist David Balfour's adventures take place on the "high seas" (he only gets as far as the treacherous coastal waters of his native Scotland, and the great majority of the story takes place on land), the rest of it is pretty apt. This is Romantic historical adventure fiction at its finest (that is, fiction from the Romantic school, with its stress on appeal to emotions --here, excitement, fear, sympathy, moral indignation, adm While the above description suggests, misleadingly, that all of protagonist David Balfour's adventures take place on the "high seas" (he only gets as far as the treacherous coastal waters of his native Scotland, and the great majority of the story takes place on land), the rest of it is pretty apt. This is Romantic historical adventure fiction at its finest (that is, fiction from the Romantic school, with its stress on appeal to emotions --here, excitement, fear, sympathy, moral indignation, admiration-- not small-r romance fiction; David doesn't get to fall in love in this book :-) ), from a master of the genre. Set a few years after Bonnie Prince Charlie's failed rebellion, it tells the tale of a orphaned heir, kidnapped at the behest of a scheming uncle. When the ship carrying him to indentured servitude in America is wrecked off the Highlands, the young man teams up with a Jacobite adventurer, and they set out on a dangerous trek across Scotland to confront the uncle. This novel has the basic features of much of Stevenson's fiction: a well-realized historical setting, vivid characters, eventful plotting, a strong emphasis on wholesome male bonding and friendship, straightforward celebration of "masculine" virtues, and a clear-eyed distinction between good and evil. The author's diction, of course, is of the 19th-century sort, and compounded by his use of Scots dialect in some character's speech and a salting of 18th-century terms that are no longer in common use; the Scottish geographical references would also probably be Greek to most American readers without a good map. But if these weren't insuperable obstacles to me, reading it as a kid of ten or so, they won't be to many of you, either! Given the similar setting, this might have some appeal to fans of Gabaldon's Outlander (though of course it lacks a love story).

  11. 5 out of 5

    Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*

    “There are two things that men should never weary of, goodness and humility; we get none too much of them in this rough world among cold, proud people.” I guess I’m just not going to be a big fan of Robert Louis Stevenson, which is a shame since he wrote classic adventure-filled maritime fiction. As with Treasure Island, the beginning promised more than what was delivered, although Kidnapped ended up being the better of the two because of the satisfying ending. I liked the first half more than the “There are two things that men should never weary of, goodness and humility; we get none too much of them in this rough world among cold, proud people.” I guess I’m just not going to be a big fan of Robert Louis Stevenson, which is a shame since he wrote classic adventure-filled maritime fiction. As with Treasure Island, the beginning promised more than what was delivered, although Kidnapped ended up being the better of the two because of the satisfying ending. I liked the first half more than the second. The second dove too much into a confusing and jumbled marriage of politics of some weird kind with fleeing and travel and I sat there mainly, "who, what, when, why, ho....Zzzzzz." I enjoyed the part leading up to the ship, and the ship, more than the rest of it. Stevenson probably won't have long-term chemistry with me since I dislike some of the rambling , but the writing overall is beautiful and the story held my interest at least half the time. I regret it started souring for me later. Sad when a book is fine at first but keeps getting more boring as it chugs along. By the end I was ready to be put out of my misery. Due to the writing being colorful (besides the annoying dialogue), and the decent first half, I left it as a three star instead of a two. Barely.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Raúl Omar

    Kidnapped became my default recommendation because of two reasons: 1. none of my friends has read it (not even heard of it) and 2. it is awesome. Let me be honest: I didnt know this book existed, I acquired Kidnapped because it was on sale, it had a cool front cover design and I liked the back cover description which seemed just nice. I wonder why this book is not as popular as other Robert Louis Stevenson’s work, I’m guessing it's because the novel is way too Scottish for any reader who happens Kidnapped became my default recommendation because of two reasons: 1. none of my friends has read it (not even heard of it) and 2. it is awesome. Let me be honest: I didn´t know this book existed, I acquired Kidnapped because it was on sale, it had a cool front cover design and I liked the back cover description which seemed just nice. I wonder why this book is not as popular as other Robert Louis Stevenson’s work, I’m guessing it's because the novel is way too Scottish for any reader who happens to be, well... not Scottish. Scottishness aside, the novel is marvellous. I truly don’t know where to start. The story is as good as it can be, Stevenson delivers an adventurous tale with his magnificent narrative that combines friendship and survival in the midst of political intrigue; a terrific description that transports you to the 18th century Scotland's landscapes and people and all that, of course, with an excellent pace: I hated when I had to interrupt my reading. What can I say about the characters but that I loved them? I really liked how they main characters interact with each other and with others, they are lovable and a little funny. There is something I truly enjoy when reading a book: to laugh now and then. Stevenson’s nails it again with his good humour, I had more than a couple of laughs while reading. There should be more books like this. There are books that after reading them, the first thing you want to do is to grab a good book. After I read Kidnapped I didn’t even wanted to see my queue in fear my next reading wouldn’t be half as good as this one was. After I recommend a book I’m always nervous and doubtful about if the reader will like it, and even worse, is the remorse of being the responsible for making someone read something that didn’t like (I hate when that happens to me). Yet, when I recommend this book I feel confident that if they don’t like it, is because they definitively don´t like either the sea or adventures or adventures in the sea or Stevenson's work or because they hate Scotland or... [insert as many other reasons as you want], but not because it is not a good book. This review was also posted on my blog :)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Young David Balfour begins and ends his harrowing adventure with evil Uncle Ebenezer (the old rat) with many mishaps in between. After being nearly murdered, then kidnapped and shipwrecked, Davie uses honesty and intelligence to his advantage while hoping to seek justice in the end. The inclusion of Scottish history throughout makes for an entertaining story, and the introduction gives an informative recap of significant dates in the life and literary career of RLS including how he came to write Young David Balfour begins and ends his harrowing adventure with evil Uncle Ebenezer (the old rat) with many mishaps in between. After being nearly murdered, then kidnapped and shipwrecked, Davie uses honesty and intelligence to his advantage while hoping to seek justice in the end. The inclusion of Scottish history throughout makes for an entertaining story, and the introduction gives an informative recap of significant dates in the life and literary career of RLS including how he came to write KIDNAPPED.Enjoyed it!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    This was my third Robert Louis Stevenson book, and they've all been five star reads for me. That makes him one of the most consistent authors I know of. Kidnapped recently showed up on the Guardian's list of the 100 best English novels, and I guess I might have put Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde there instead; I still feel like it's a deeper book. But the Guardian chose this instead, mostly because of its Scottishness. It's a gripping adventure book first and foremost - dude gets kidnapped, headed for a This was my third Robert Louis Stevenson book, and they've all been five star reads for me. That makes him one of the most consistent authors I know of. Kidnapped recently showed up on the Guardian's list of the 100 best English novels, and I guess I might have put Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde there instead; I still feel like it's a deeper book. But the Guardian chose this instead, mostly because of its Scottishness. It's a gripping adventure book first and foremost - dude gets kidnapped, headed for a life of slavery in the good old US of A, and then there's shipwrecks and fightin' and fleein' and it's all great fun - but it's also about the character of Scotland. My Penguin edition seemed to think that justified tons of boring footnotes about historical details, none of which I understood because they assumed I had some degree of starting familiarity. Everything I know about Scottish history I learned from watching Braveheart fifty times, and pretty much all I got from that is that English people are dicks. And that's really enough for this book, too. It was written in 1886, and takes place in 1751. Our narrator David Balfour, a "tendentious prig" according to the only fun sentence in the intro, is a Lowlander; his buddy Allan Breck, who was a real dude, is a Highlander. The events in the book - the killing of that one guy and its fallout - were real events, fairly depicted. I went and looked into all that history and crap and here's what I can tell you: skip the footnotes and trust Stevenson's narrative, because he's telling you all you need to know. The footnotes make it seem like there's a larger picture that you're not getting and should be getting - like there's something you're missing - but that's really not the case.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Kidnapped was one of my "audio classics," the public-domain audiobooks I listen to on my phone when I'm walking the dog, washing dishes or shopping. I picked it on a whim, not knowing anything about the plot – presumably, someone gets kidnapped – and was pleasantly surprised. The first half of the book especially is exciting, filled with suspense as the protagonist arrives at his uncle's house and tries to figure out why he's being received so coldly, even treacherously. The book has attempted m Kidnapped was one of my "audio classics," the public-domain audiobooks I listen to on my phone when I'm walking the dog, washing dishes or shopping. I picked it on a whim, not knowing anything about the plot – presumably, someone gets kidnapped – and was pleasantly surprised. The first half of the book especially is exciting, filled with suspense as the protagonist arrives at his uncle's house and tries to figure out why he's being received so coldly, even treacherously. The book has attempted murder, successful murder, a major battle on board a ship, a shipwreck and more. Stevenson knew how to write a thrilling adventure story, that's for sure. Unfortunately, the second half of the story bogs down into a series of slow-motion chase scenes, punctuated by petty arguments between the two main characters, and the final confrontation between the narrator and his uncle doesn't really pay off like you'd expect based on how they met. The ending, too, is abrupt. It feels like it needs at least one more chapter. After a five-star beginning, the two-star ending drags the rating down. It's a fun book, and I'm glad I "read" it, but it's clear why Treasure Island has remained Stevenson's career-defining work.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Kranz

    Here's a book that's simultaneously well-known AND under-appreciated. If asked, I suspect most people would regard Kidnapped as an adventure story for boys -- and, in a sense, it is. Alan Breck is rightly remembered as one of the most dashing of romantic heros and the story has plenty of sword play and scheming. But I was pleasantly surprised by how adult the story is. Alan may be romantic, but he's an ambiguous character. Did he commit murder? Is his Jacobite crusade really on behalf of the Sco Here's a book that's simultaneously well-known AND under-appreciated. If asked, I suspect most people would regard Kidnapped as an adventure story for boys -- and, in a sense, it is. Alan Breck is rightly remembered as one of the most dashing of romantic heros and the story has plenty of sword play and scheming. But I was pleasantly surprised by how adult the story is. Alan may be romantic, but he's an ambiguous character. Did he commit murder? Is his Jacobite crusade really on behalf of the Scot's -- or is it just as oppressive to the Scots as the English themselves? Indeed, the ending itself is a marvel of maturity. Instead of extracting revenge or imposing a crushing punishment, David Balfour (the hero), achieves his goals through reasonable means leavened with mercy. Ambiguity, ambivalence, mixed motives -- these are the qualities we expect in modern literary fiction, yet they're all here in this "boy's book." David becomes a man, not by virtue of martial strength, but by his ability to assert his character in a world painted in shades of gray.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Luís C.

    An adventure novel "old age" with a classical writing, notions of honor clan and family names, pirates and benefactors, grounding, a grueling walk in the heather of Scotland and a young boy who becomes man. A map of Scotland and the different clans involved would have been welcome in book publishing ... but follow the adventures of David Balfour, not always smart, was pleasant.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    The description of this book is a summary of it - spoiler alert! Thankfully, it doesn't matter to me since I read it once long ago. I didn't think much of it then, but I found myself liking it better this time through. I missed a lot as a youngster. As so often is the case with assigned reading, I didn't have enough life experience to really appreciate it yet. The characters were great, especially David & Alan. Their failings brought the story to life more than their accomplishments. It was a The description of this book is a summary of it - spoiler alert! Thankfully, it doesn't matter to me since I read it once long ago. I didn't think much of it then, but I found myself liking it better this time through. I missed a lot as a youngster. As so often is the case with assigned reading, I didn't have enough life experience to really appreciate it yet. The characters were great, especially David & Alan. Their failings brought the story to life more than their accomplishments. It was a great trek through Scotland in the 1750s making a lot of history come to life. The sheer poverty is incredible. I didn't care much for the style of writing, so was glad to have an excellent narrator make light work of it. It was still stiff, but the voices and accents were great & something to look forward to. I recommend it, but as much for the background it lends to novels that followed in its wake as for the novel itself.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shiku

    David Balfour, a Lowland boy, is sixteen when his father dies. What he left behind is only a letter that tells David to go to the Shaws; there he'll find his inheritance. David follows his father's instructions and meets his uncle Ebenezer - an awkward person that conceals more than he tells David about his family. Things are getting nastier, and finally, Ebenezer tries to kill David. When this doesn't work, he pretends to give up and wants to see an advocate. David feels safe - and suddenly he' David Balfour, a Lowland boy, is sixteen when his father dies. What he left behind is only a letter that tells David to go to the Shaws; there he'll find his inheritance. David follows his father's instructions and meets his uncle Ebenezer - an awkward person that conceals more than he tells David about his family. Things are getting nastier, and finally, Ebenezer tries to kill David. When this doesn't work, he pretends to give up and wants to see an advocate. David feels safe - and suddenly he's sold to a ship bringing convicts to America. But when he meets the Highlander Alan Breck, they escape, but things don't go the way they should. David finds himself alone on a lonely island, where his travel through Scotland just begins. Now he has just one aim: Coming back home and make things clear. Who expects a thrilling adventure story won't be satisfied. But who's interested in Scotland, its people, its manners, its landscape might enjoy "Kidnapped". Actually the plot has enough potential for a really good adventure story, but Stevenson uses too much space for his descriptions of the surroundings or the manners - therefore some of the tension simply gets lost. At some time he focuses on a pipe bag competition between Alan and another Highlander, which is quite interesting, but is not important at all for the action. Furthermore, it might be interesting, but it's not entertaining. So he takes the story its speed that could be quite high if you consider the few pages. Actually, it already starts this way. Before the journey of David starts he has to go to see his uncle, be sold and the trip with the ship literally takes ages. You might say that this is because it really takes them a long time to travel; however, later one month is summarized within a few pages. There is just too much focus on rather unimportant events that don't have a great impact on what's going on later. The travel itself is difficult to follow. I had sometimes no orientation where we are right now - and even Google couldn't help! And again I got the expression that the focus is too much on description than on facts that might be use- or helpful. Furthermore, the characters are everything - despite likable. David is okay, all in all, but Alan is quite strange. He may be brave and he may live up to his ideals, but sometimes he tends to be narcissistic and egoistic. I never felt attached to one of them or any other character. But still I have to admit that they really are characters, not just flat ones, mere names on the paper. They have their strong and their weak moments; they win and they lose; they undergo a development, and they don't always pay attention. It may not make them nicer, but the fact itself is ... yeah, great. And even if this book has many aspects to criticize, it still is enjoyable. The language isn't that creative, but the Scottish variety of English is reason enough to read and love it. It's also interesting that Stevenson doesn't settle for stereotypes - at least not only. Of course there are bagpipes, but the Scottish aren't wild, kilt-wearing barbarians. (This wouldn't even work - think of the Dress Act!) Alan for example has kind of fallen in love with his French clothes and he will wear them even this could mean death, because he's easy to recognize with them. In addition, the Lowlanders aren't mollycoddled copies of the English. They absolutely aren't! Furthermore, the book has some great scenes where I couldn't stop laughing. There Alan and David just show what sly old dogs they are, and the fact that the others also fall for their line made it even better. Of course this is a question of taste - but who can ignore the great irony, when someone is caught on an island, nearly dies and then finally recognizes he could have gone to the mainland when it's low tide? What I liked most about his book is the open end, just because it fits the historical events that are known. We don't know about the whole life of Alan Breck and so Mr. Stevenson couldn't write about that, either. Still, the end is not too abrupt - as I said, it just fits. All in all, I can only say: You can read it, but you don't have to. It might be worth it when you're interested in Scotland, otherwise it would be better to be lucky with other books.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Chavez

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Oh the aptly dubbed "boys" novel. Kidnapped is a delightful adventure story with just the right doses of humour which will make you feel one with the 16 year old naive, yet good natured, thrill seeking protagonist David Balfour. This bonny tale is set a few years after the Jacobite uprising (1746) in Scotland, when the English were still trying very hard to break the unity of the Highland clans, with the help of the Lowland Scots, who had sworn themselves in as His Majesties subjects. Many of the Oh the aptly dubbed "boys" novel. Kidnapped is a delightful adventure story with just the right doses of humour which will make you feel one with the 16 year old naive, yet good natured, thrill seeking protagonist David Balfour. This bonny tale is set a few years after the Jacobite uprising (1746) in Scotland, when the English were still trying very hard to break the unity of the Highland clans, with the help of the Lowland Scots, who had sworn themselves in as His Majesties subjects. Many of the subplots in the story including the Appin murder, and even the lovable character of Alan Stewart, was based on actual events and persons respectively. So the story has a good bit of history and is generally catalogued in historical fiction, yet I did not know any of this prior to my reading. I am not one of the many people who read this as a child or was assigned it in school, I came into this book blank and was pleasantly surprised. Stevenson's 'Kidnapped' is simply a great read. In brief, 16-year-old orphan, David Balfour visits his uncle in order to claim an inheritance, left by his father. The uncle, having failed to kill him, arranges for David to be kidnapped by a ship of good-for-nothing villains and taken to the United States to be sold into slavery. While navigating the Scottish coast, the ship collides with another boat and the crew capture the lone survivor, a swashbuckling Highlander called Alan Breck Stewart. David and Alan become friends and escape their captors. On land again, Stewart is accused of murdering a rival clan member and he and David must now cross the Scottish mountains as outlaws and try to reach a safe haven and reclaim David's inheritance his Uncle rudely is withholding. The descriptions of the Scottish countryside are truly marvelous and the sense of pace and adventure keeps the reader hooked right to the end. I think to most readers the historic aspects of this piece, along with the fact that the couple are being hunted by British redcoats is enough to maintain interest, suspense and pace; however, be forewarned, some may think that there is not a very strong plot, but we must remember that it was originally intended for young boys stepping into adulthood. It was a tale to give boys a sense of the 'big bad world' outside, while entertaining them with kidnapping, duels, ship-wrecks, a murder, and the flight through the highlands to safety, all major ingredients perfect to let any young boys imagination soar high! It is a tale about finding maturity through hardships. All in all throughout the read I smiled when Uncle Ebeneezer served his gruel, I held my breath when David nearly stepped into the space on the broken stairs, I cringed with the injustice of Ebeneezer trying to cheat David out of his inheritance by selling him into slavery in the American colonies (I also couldn't stop picturing Ebeneezer Scrooge as well, he fit the bill perfectly). Give this one a shot, I look forward to reading more classics by Stevenson.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Laurene

    Never knew the novel was intertwined with a historical event, the Appen Murder of 1752. "A word once spoken, who can recapture it?" "What makes ye so good to me? What makes ye care for such a thankless fellow? Deed, and I don't, know. For just precisely what I thought I liked about ye, was that ye never quarreled; -- and now I like ye better!"

  22. 4 out of 5

    Santiago

    A great historical novel, with lots of adventure. It is set in 18th century Scotland, around the time of the Appin Murder. I know nothing of the Scottish history of the period and yet understood the historical background pefectly. Stevenson (a Scot himself) treates the Scottish Highlanders sympathetically. I found the plot engaging and the descriptions of historical and geographical backgrounds interesting and colourful. Young David Balfour goes to the old ruined family house of Shaws to request A great historical novel, with lots of adventure. It is set in 18th century Scotland, around the time of the Appin Murder. I know nothing of the Scottish history of the period and yet understood the historical background pefectly. Stevenson (a Scot himself) treates the Scottish Highlanders sympathetically. I found the plot engaging and the descriptions of historical and geographical backgrounds interesting and colourful. Young David Balfour goes to the old ruined family house of Shaws to request help from his uncle Ebenezer. He is naive but resorceful and soon grasps that things are not as they should. However he is tricked by his uncle and sold to work in America. When the boat collides with a smaller one and Alan Breck is brought on board, he allies with this exiled Highland Chief against the crew. After a wreckage they reunite inland and begin an epic journey through the Highlands to help Alan escape persecution and David recover his heritage. I have read very little of Stevenson but have always liked him. After this delightful novel I will pass on to other of his works. Highly recommended.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    5 stars, primarily for the audio book. I doubt I could have made it through the book if it weren't for the Audio CD. It is a wonderful adventure with historical significance and action but with decidedly Scotch language. What I like most is how realistically hardship is portrayed. You can almost feel the exhaustion, dehydration, worry, etc. David's actions can be unlikable. Alan can be a pest. Yet both are in the end devoted to each other and fun to read about. This book also proves that cliff h 5 stars, primarily for the audio book. I doubt I could have made it through the book if it weren't for the Audio CD. It is a wonderful adventure with historical significance and action but with decidedly Scotch language. What I like most is how realistically hardship is portrayed. You can almost feel the exhaustion, dehydration, worry, etc. David's actions can be unlikable. Alan can be a pest. Yet both are in the end devoted to each other and fun to read about. This book also proves that cliff hangers are nothing new! This was written in 1887 and yet here I go, trampling off to the library in search of the sequel.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Robin Hobb

    I was fairly young when I read this, and felt a bit frustrated that I didn't know the history behind the book. Why was Alan on the run? It says a great deal that despite my ignorance, the sheer adventure sustained me and kept me reading to the end.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sanjay Gautam

    I was half way through the book. It started all well but gradually it started growing boring (or it was a little tough perhaps or something) so dumping the book was inevitable. But I will give it a shot in near future.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Elisabeth

    Re-read, January 2017, and another one that I enjoyed better than before. Alan Breck has to be one of the most memorable characters in English literature.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cphe

    A young David Balfour didn't expect to be kidnapped when he sought his Scottish kin at the bleak and isolated house of Shaws. Much preferred the first half of the novel, life aboard the vessel Covenant and Davids interactions with an unscrupulous crew. Whilst I did enjoy this swashbuckling adventure I have to admit that I far preferred the more convoluted Master of Ballantrae. Read the free edition without any issues.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Hadley

    I remember reading this quite a while ago when I was fairly little and remember it being quite confusing and uninteresting at that time. Later on, I ended up reading Treasure Island by RLS and absolutely adored it, so I figured I'd give Kidnapped another go. As with Treasure Island, I love a good seafaring tale, and that was most of what I remembered of this book. I guess my memory didn't serve me so well. The beginning of this story does have some excitement, including intrigue with David's Unc I remember reading this quite a while ago when I was fairly little and remember it being quite confusing and uninteresting at that time. Later on, I ended up reading Treasure Island by RLS and absolutely adored it, so I figured I'd give Kidnapped another go. As with Treasure Island, I love a good seafaring tale, and that was most of what I remembered of this book. I guess my memory didn't serve me so well. The beginning of this story does have some excitement, including intrigue with David's Uncle Ebenezer and the story surrounding the inheritance, as well as the kidnapping, storms, and a small battle. However, the majority of the story actually takes place in the highlands of Scotland where David and his outlaw friend Alan are escaping from the English soldiers. So if you're looking for swashbuckling... this isn't really it. Once the story switches to the Highlands, it just seems to drag. So much of the story from then on out stands out to me as long fatiguing days of hiking and waiting out redcoats. Obviously there's more than that, but it wasn't really able to hold my interest and there was never really a spot where I just couldn't put it down. (Oh - and if you're not one for books with the accents written in... this has plenty of Scottish brogue and vocabulary. That didn't really bother me, but it's all personal taste I guess.) So overall, I really wanted to like this book like Treasure Island, but after the initial excitement, the story dies down into a wearisome trek through the Highlands.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    Well, 4.5* I enjoyed Michael Page's narration very much & his Scottish burr seemed spot on to these American ears. Betrayal, friendship and adventure in 1751 Scotland with some Jacobite politics in the background... What fun!

  30. 5 out of 5

    John

    A while back I was at Powell's Books looking through the section of old kids books. Specifically, I was looking for a version of Treasure Island that my parents bought me as a kid and which I wanted to get for my son. While I was browsing, I ran across this title of which I was completely ignorant. Upon closer inspection, I found that it was another adventure story by Robert Louis Stevenson, so I added it to my basket. I enjoyed this story. It is a pretty quick read as the story is quite engaging A while back I was at Powell's Books looking through the section of old kids books. Specifically, I was looking for a version of Treasure Island that my parents bought me as a kid and which I wanted to get for my son. While I was browsing, I ran across this title of which I was completely ignorant. Upon closer inspection, I found that it was another adventure story by Robert Louis Stevenson, so I added it to my basket. I enjoyed this story. It is a pretty quick read as the story is quite engaging. Some reviews found that the second part of the novel is a bit slow. I do understand why some people would see it that way as the book turns more into an overland chase with a great many conversations between the protagonist and his friend, Alan. Indeed, this part is mostly about the relationship between the Whig, David and the Jacobite, Alan. Still, this did not impair my enjoyment of the book. The main problem that I did have with the book is the large amount of Scottish dialect, which was sometimes difficult. I am glad that I found and read this novel. While it is inferior to Treasure Island, it is still very good. I will not be reading it to my son, however, due to the dialect issues. Oh, and I did find that edition of Treasure Island that I was looking for and it is now in the family library for my kids to read.

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