Review 1835: Kidnapped

His mother long dead and his father recently having passed away, young David Balfour is ready to set out to seek his fortune. But family friend Reverend Campbell gives him a letter from his father to take to an Ebenezer Balfour of Shaws near Edinburgh. David hopes that if he has a wealthy relative, the man will help him to a career.

When David arrives at Shaws, he finds it incomplete, almost a ruin, and Ebenezer Balfour to be unwelcoming. He is David’s uncle, but right away he sends David up a ruined staircase almost to his death. Then, once his uncle has agreed to go with David to a lawyer, Mr. Rankiller, to discuss David’s inheritance, he has David kidnapped by an unscrupulous sea captain, who is supposed to take him to work as a white slave on a plantation.

North of Scotland, the ship David is on runs over a small boat in a storm, and the only survivor of the boat is Alan Breck Stewart, a Highland Jacobite who has been collecting money for his exiled chief. He has saved his belt full of gold, but David overhears the ship’s officers planning to kill the man for his money. David alerts Stewart, and the two hold off the crew in the roundhouse, ending with a much-depleted crew. Ultimately, this results in a shipwreck.

Beached in the far northwestern Highlands, David and Alan must avoid capture by the English army while they journey to Edinburgh to reclaim David’s inheritance and find Alan another ship for France.

This novel was my favorite Stevenson book as a child, so I was curious how I would view it now. I enjoyed it very much. David and Alan are interesting contrasting characters, and the novel gives a good idea of living in the Highlands in 1751. It’s full of adventure, too, a fun read.

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12 thoughts on “Review 1835: Kidnapped

  1. historicalfictionisfiction April 13, 2022 / 10:07 am

    thanks for this review. I’ve been eyeing classics, and trying to decide on which to read. If it’s 200 pages or under, it goes to the top of my list. 😉

    • whatmeread April 13, 2022 / 10:08 am

      I think it’s probably longer than that.

  2. historicalfictionisfiction April 13, 2022 / 10:21 am

    I checked. . .it’s 250 pages, but I can do that. Because I have a writing background, I just don’t do fiction tomes; nonfiction, I might, but I’ve always preferred Christie/Hemingway style to Fitzgerald/Joyce style.

    • whatmeread April 13, 2022 / 10:23 am

      That’s interesting. I also have a writing background, so I’m not sure what you mean. To me, it depends on the tome. If I’m really into a book, I want more of it. Of course, I don’t know how far into Joyce you can be.

  3. Helen April 13, 2022 / 2:16 pm

    I started to read this years ago but got distracted in the middle and never finished it. I’ll have to try it again!

    • whatmeread April 13, 2022 / 6:07 pm

      Some of the dialogue is hard to understand, but I enjoyed it.

  4. Jane April 14, 2022 / 10:58 am

    I was looking for a Stevenson to put on my next classics list as I haven’t read any, this sounds like fun so thank you!

    • whatmeread April 14, 2022 / 11:55 am

      It’s been interesting to me in rereading some of these, because several of Stevenson’s books are considered boys’ books, but I think that most of them read just as well for adults, especially this one.

      • Jane April 14, 2022 / 11:58 am

        that makes it even more appealing!

  5. Marg May 3, 2022 / 4:27 am

    Its always a relief when a childhood favourite lives up to our memories.

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