Kidnapped

Kidnapped

by Robert Louis Stevenson

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Overview

After the death of his father, the seventeen-year-old orphan David Balfour discovers the existence of an uncle, and sets off in search of him. His uncle Ebenzer is far from welcoming, however, and David, after barely escaping with his life, finds himself kidnapped and bound for America, where he is to be sold into slavery. Yet when the hot-headed Jacobite rebel Alan Breck Stewart comes on board, David soon finds himself thrust into a perilous adventure, and fleeing for his life across the Scottish Highlands.

Inspired by real historical events, Kidnapped is an unforgettable and action-packed adventure story that has delighted and captivated readers for more than a century.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553904673
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/26/2008
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 181,541
File size: 598 KB

About the Author


ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON (1850–1894) was born in Scotland. His many acclaimed works include Treasure Island and A Child’s Garden of Verses.

Date of Birth:

November 13, 1850

Date of Death:

December 3, 1894

Place of Birth:

Edinburgh, Scotland

Place of Death:

Vailima, Samoa

Education:

Edinburgh University, 1875

Read an Excerpt

Introduction by Margot Livesey

I.

When I was growing up in Scotland, Robert Louis Stevenson was the first author whom I knew by name, and he remains the only one whom I can truthfully claim to have been reading all my life. From an early age, my parents read to me from A Child's Garden of Verses, and I soon learned some of the poems by heart.

I have a little shadow
that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him
is more than I can see.

Perhaps I recognized, even then, Stevenson's unique gift for keeping a foot in two camps. While the poems vividly captured my childish concerns, somewhere in the margins shimmered the mystery of adult life. A few years later Kidnapped was the first chapter book I read, and I can still picture the maroon binding and the black-and-white drawings that illustrated David Balfour's adventures. At the age of seven, a book without pictures would have been out of the question, but, in fact, they turned out to be superfluous. I could imagine everything that happened just from the words on the page, although I must admit to the small advantage that the view from my bedroom window--bare hills, rocks, heather--was very much like the landscape of Kidnapped.

At first glance such early acquaintance might seem like a good omen for an author's reputation. In actuality, that Stevenson is so widely read by children has tended to make him seem like an author from who, as adults, we have little to learn. It is worth noting that his contemporaries would not have shared this prejudice. Nineteenth-century readers did not regard children's books as separate species. Stevenson's own father often reread The Parent's Assistant, a volume of children's stories, and Leslie Stephen, Virginia Woolf's father, writes of staying up late to finish Treasure Island.

Like the shadow of his poem, Stevenson's reputation has waxed and waned at an alarming rate. He died in a blaze of hagiography, which perhaps in part explains the fury of later critics. F.R. Leavis in The Great Tradition dismisses Stevenson (in a footnote, no less) as a romantic writer, guilty of fine writing, and in general Stevenson has not fared as well as his friend Henry James. People comment with amazement that Borges and Nabokov praised his novels. Still, his best work has remained in print for over a hundred years, and his is among that small group of authors to have given a phrase to the language: Jekyll and Hyde.

Besides our perception of Stevenson as a children's author, two other factors may have contributed to his ambiguous reputation. Although his list of publications is much longer than most people realize--he wrote journalism and travel pieces for money--he failed to produce a recognizable oeuvre, a group of works that stand together, each resonating with the others. In addition, the pendulum of literary taste has swung in a direction that Stevenson disliked and was determined to avoid: namely, pessimism. After reading The Portrait of a Lady he wrote to James begging him to write no more such books, and while he admired the early work of Thomas Hardy, he hated the darker Tess of the d'Urbervilles. The English writer John Galsworthy commented memorably on this aspect of Stevenson when he said that the superiority of Stevenson over Hardy was that Stevenson was all life, while Hardy was all death.

Table of Contents

Set in the year 1751, this classic adventure story centers around David Balfour, a young Scotsman orphaned by the death of his father. Through the treachery of his uncle, the young hero finds himself shanghaied and headed for bondage in the New World. Just when things look their worst, a swashbuckling Highlander, Alan Breck Stewart, comes to the rescue.
David eludes his shipboard captors and joins Stewart on a wild flight through the Highlands, pursued by both the King's forces and a notorious clan of Highland Jacobites. Flavorful, suspenseful, and peopled by realistic characters, this stirring novel was considered by the author to be his finest work of fiction. It is reprinted here, complete and unabridged, in a high-quality, inexpensive edition sure to delight a new generation of readers.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Crossley reads this tale as its author might have. Adept at the language of the region and times, Crossley deftly brings one of literature's best-known stories to the ears of contemporary listeners." —-AudioFile

EBOOK COMMENTARY

"Crossley reads this tale as its author might have. Adept at the language of the region and times, Crossley deftly brings one of literature's best-known stories to the ears of contemporary listeners." —-AudioFile

Customer Reviews

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Kidnapped 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 163 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought it was a very good story and wasn't sure what the writing from that period would be like. I am very happy that I took the chance and downloaded the story. I usually read fiction crime thrillers and this book kept my attention and I read it as quickly as I do my other choices. The story follows a nice line and gives a nice packaged ending that one would expect, no real twists or anything of that kind.
DerMeister More than 1 year ago
Stevenson, well within his element in regards to the setting, re-demonstrates his mastery as a storyteller with Kidnapped; but unlike his works such as Treasure Island this compelling adventure story's plot and thematic elements are woven in the context of a real historical conflict. Through this spirited depiction of the Whig vs. Jacobite struggle, Stevenson is definitely trying to redeem the image of the Highlands that the English had strived so hard to tarnish back in his day. This is totally comprehensible in characters like Alan and James of the Glens who both exhibit noble manners and honor that was allegedly uncharacteristic of catholic scots in the 1700s. What's truly interesting in this book, however, is the centrality of the unlikely friendship between David Balfour and Alan Stewart. Despite their incredibly divergent upbringings (a rebellious catholic highlander and a goody-good protestant whig) they are able to transcend their own misapprehensions and prevail over the sprawling cast of cutthroats looking to sell them into bondage. Throughout this plot steeped in treachery and redemption, there are instances of benevolence and compassion revealed by the majority of misfortunes they experience, like when Alan loses their money to Cluny MacPherson. I think it's inventive how he uses the screw-ups to shed light on how important it is to swallow pride and resolve problems with the people you truly respect. I was also impressed with how the events of the story also preserved the importance of virtues like loyalty and valor, which surface from time to time in the highlander characters such as Macrob who continue the resistance for justice against English oppressors. Another entertaining aspect of the story is Stevenson's use of motifs in tying together its major plot elements. Much like the "hands" motiff in Treasure Island, Stevenson is very consistent in using themes like inheritance, especially primogeniture, to impress upon the reader what was principal or significant back in those times. All and all, it is a very exciting read and especially appealing to anyone of Scottish descent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I felt the urge to write this reveiew after reading one written March 21, 2011, in which the writer of the review was reading Kidnapped for school, and complained of the length (236 pages) and the oldfashioned writing. I have two things to say to that. One, when was written people, as individuals were much smarter than they are now, being able to read very complex books with difficult language, and comprehend them perfectly. Two, I happen to have read Nicholas Nickelby by Charles Dickens, which for your information is 755 pages long and i read it cover to cover. I am twelve. For those who want to know whether this is a good book or not, I highly reccomend it. Best of luck on your own readinging adventure! SGP
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best audio books I have ever heard. The narration is outstanding and great theater. The old English is beautiful (the old English is readily understood with a little thought - if the language daunts you, you might enjoy instead 'Goodnight Moon'.)
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book really touched my heart
squeelee More than 1 year ago
The story moves along and is so well told, I felt as though I were witnessing it first hand.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the most boring book I have ever read. I get it that it is old English but the spelling could have been better. Any English teacher would have a field day with this one. Really bad
Osbaldistone on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you enjoy an historical novel that is true to the 'historical' part of the label, this is an enjoyable read. The contemporary language is not too difficult, but you may need access to a Scot's glossary once in awhile. I highly recommend reading a copy with a map, as Kidnapped gets high praise for it's geographic accuracy as well. Oh, and if you enjoy "Kidnapped", you will want to read Stevenson's sequel, "Catriona", written many years later while living in the South Pacific. "Catriona" has a different 'feel' to it from "Kidnapped", but is an enjoyable read, and ties up a lot of loose ends from "Kidnapped". Os.
mthelibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It took 2 weeks of struggle and 3 formats to get through this book. I found it a slog, whereas I enjoyed "Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde." I liked the e-reader format because of the built-in dictionary (though quite a few of the words are not in a modern e-dictionary), but ultimately I had to finish it on audiobook. I am interested in the author's use of the name Ebanezer for a Scrooge-like character.
nyakyakyanya on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story was a friendship story rather than a kidnapped story. For sure, hero was kidnapped by his uncle but it was just only beginning of the story. after that he met young man who saw him precious person. They ran away and hid from their enemy. The end was a little sentimental happy end.
hilarymclean6 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I was a kid, my father had given me his copy that he had as a boy and told me I must read it. No way, too much like Treasure Island, or so I thought. A thoroughly enjoyable tale full of adventure and action and more than a little sprinkling of historical fact from the land of the Scots and English.
ncgraham on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Previously I have ranked Robert Louis Stevenson among my favorite authors simply on the basis of Treasure Island, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and selections from A Child¿s Garden of Verses. Now I¿m pleased to add Kidnapped to that list.In my review of Treasure Island, I called Stevenson a master of atmosphere, and that¿s true here as well. He has a most miraculous ability to make me feel like I¿ve stepped into a new world and am experiencing it for the first time, side by side with our hero, David Balfour: On the forenoon of the second day, coming to the top of a hill, I saw all the country fall away before me down to the sea; and in the midst of this descent, on a long ridge, the city of Edinburgh smoking like a kiln. There was a flag upon the castle, and ships moving or lying anchored in the firth; both of which, for as far away as they were, I could distinguish clearly; and both brought my country heart into my mouth.But while every page of Treasure Island seems to be bathed in salty air, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in grimy fog, in Kidnapped the atmosphere varies from setting to setting, from scene to scene. There¿s a Gothic air pervading the encounters with Uncle Ebenezer (truly one of the lowest and most despicable of Stevenson¿s characters, and not at all similar to his usual Devil-as-Gentleman villain), followed by a nautical section that invokes all of the danger and little of the lightness of Treasure Island. The majority of the tale, however, centers on the romance and mystique of the highlands.The character who best embodies Stevenson¿s idea of highland honor is Alan Breck Stewart; all the complexity that Stevenson spared in creating Uncle Ebenezer he seems to have kept in reserve for the portrait of this adventurous outlaw, who was a real historical personage. Stevenson¿s Alan is alternately heroic and petty, friendly and shortsighted. At times he almost seems younger than his juvenile companion, although he¿s never less than sympathetic.By my calculations, David himself ought to be roughly the same age as Jim in Treasure Island, but David is the more complicated character, and thus Kidnapped reads as an ¿older¿ story. Unfortunately, it¿s also more episodic than Treasure Island, with a weaker plot and an open ending. Still, I enjoyed it, and look forward to reading more Stevenson¿including the sequel, Catriona!
thesmellofbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The best adventure fiction I have ever read, and one of the most satisfying books on many levels. If I hadn't run out of fiction to read on holiday and found this in the thrift shop, I might never have read it. Talk about close shaves! Definite reread material. Setting, pacing, fascinating historical information, the characters of both the land and the people, and the relationship between the protagonists--a Whig and a Jacobite--absolutely brilliant and utterly thirst-quenching.
The_Hibernator on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When 16-year-old David Balfour meets his estranged uncle for the first time, he is shocked by the man's cruelty. Soon, Balfour has been kidnapped and he must rescue himself and travel back to the town of his uncle to claim his inheritance. This is an exciting little book...not quite up to scratch with Treasure Island, but still has quite an adventure. It would probably be a fun book for teenagers to read, if they like classics (or if you want to thrust classics upon them).
HankIII on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I tried, but it just didn't radiate enough interest for me.
savaran on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
David was alone because his parents were dead. he went to his ancle but he was not kind person.And,He was kidnapped! He faced many dengers and got best friend. I like this book because David isn't a negative boy even if he is placed in serious situlation.and each character is very powerfull.this book is very slling.
xoxpxq on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story is about a boy who lost his parents. Troubles came to him one after another by his uncle who doesn't want to give his assert. However he managed to solve the problems while cooperating with some people.I enjoyed reading this book because he is a boy of may age. So I imagine if I was in his shoes. The expression about anger,friendship,and encouragement from many people make me think to grow.
nolen111 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story is about the adventure of a seventeen-year-old boy David. One day, He was kidnapped by a man who was asked by another man who wanted David to leave from the house and money for him. From that moment, his adventure began. He made friends with a man called Alan, but was it really lucky or not for the boy?This story was not only the story about normal adventure in the field or the sea, in other words, outside, but also the one about "inside" adventure. Of course it means "in a house" as usual, but it has another important implication. It's "heart", for example, his anger, fear, and especially his feeligs for his friend Alan such as respect, anger, trust, and so on. David is very young enough to feel a lot, so I could enjoy such a fresh "inside" adventure very much.
hetaresamurai on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
David visits the uncle with the letter that father left. David was expected of the existence of the uncle who had never heard it. However, the uncle was disliked those in the whole town who changed. The house was in an awful state, too. And, David cheated by the uncle is put to the ship that toward the United States because of being sold as a slave...I felt not interesting at first. However, it was very interesting when reading to the last minute.
kahoi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the main character was kidnapped and adventure started then. Because it is adventure story, I couldn't stop reading. I was excited when I was reading and I liked this book.
sinneitai on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story is about adventure. One day, the main character, David, was kidnapped by his uncle.He was gradually involved in Aran, Mr Rnkeillor, and so on.Now could he can escape from him...? I like this story very much.When I was reading this,I felt that I was in this story.And this is so thriling!I recommend this.
hyji on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story is thriller and adventure.The main caracter is kidnapped because of.....The title of this book sounds thriller but not just thriller.As you read this,you will feel their friendship.
naokoa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
David was kidnapped because of his uncle's plan. He had to work in the ship. He met Alan, and his adventure with him was started.I feel their friendship was interesting. I think I can't stand with Alan.
minamia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story is about David's adventures.It was very thrilling that he faced many dangers.As I haven't read adventure story so much until now,this was flesh for me.
ronta on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
David,who is the hero of this story,lost his father and was looking for his uncle.Finally,he could find his uncle but he was deceived by him and was kidnapped.Then his adventure starts.He met many people and companions and he was helped by them through his adventure.I think this book will make you enjoy reading.