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Kidnapped

Robert Louis Stevenson

Book Overview: 

David Balfour, a lad of seventeen and newly orphaned, is directed to go and live with his rich uncle, the master of the estate of Shaws in the lowlands of Scotland near Edinburgh. His uncle, Ebenezer (as close a miser as Dickens’ Ebenezer Scrooge), is shocked to suddenly have his young relative descend on him and tries to rid himself of David with an arranged accident. Failing that, he pays the captain of a brig to kidnap David and sell him into slavery in Carolina.

A collision in the fog brings onboard the brig a survivor, Alan Breck Stewart, who is carrying a dangerous amount of gold on his person. David warns him of a plan by the brig’s captain and crew to overpower him and seize the money, and then finds himself fighting alongside Alan in a battle royale. By good fortune, Alan is handy with a sword and they have access to the firearms locker, and the pair so completely defeat the crew that barely enough hands remain to sail her. Limping to port, she is holed by rocks, and David finds himself a castaway.

Being in Alan’s presence continues to be a chancy business. David is talking to Colin Roy Campbell, the King’s Factor who has been oppressing Alan’s people, when the man is shot to death, and David is chased as an accomplice. The two “take to the heather” and barely survive near brushes with redcoats as they thread through the Trossachs and other highland ranges of Scotland. Only after an arduous weeks-long trek through territory where they are actively hunted do they emerge in the more settled districts around the river Forth, only to find guards upon the bridge. With no money remaining, they must somehow cross to Queensferry, find Ebenezer’s lawyer, and lay claim to David’s inheritance in order to send Alan safely on to France

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .CHAPTER VII I GO TO SEA IN THE BRIG "COVENANT" OF DYSART

I came to myself in darkness, in great pain, bound hand and foot, and deafened by many unfamiliar noises. There sounded in my ears a roaring of water as of a huge mill-dam, the thrashing of heavy sprays, the thundering of the sails, and the shrill cries of seamen. The whole world now heaved giddily up, and now rushed giddily downward; and so sick and hurt was I in body, and my mind so much confounded, that it took me a long while, chasing my thoughts up and down, and ever stunned again by a fresh stab of pain, to realise that I must be lying somewhere bound in the belly of that unlucky ship, and that the wind must have strengthened to a gale. With the clear perception of my plight, there fell upon me a blackness of despair, a horror of remorse at my own folly, and a passion of anger at my uncle, that once more bereft me of my senses.

When I returned again to life, the same uproar, the same . . . Read More

Community Reviews

I read an illustrated and abridged version of this when I was a kid. Now reading the unabridged version as an adult I really liked it. The story is solid, the characters are meaningful and interact well, and the plot was good and comprehensible. There is nothing deep or subliminal about this. That's

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 fo

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 lowlan

"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 i

”The woman’s face lit up with a malignant anger. ‘That is the house of Shaw!’ she cried. ‘Blood built it; blood stopped the building of it; blood shall bring it down. See here!’ she cried again---’I spit upon the ground, and crack my thumb at it! Black be its fall!’”

David Balfour’s father has died,

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