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Kidnapped (David Balfour #1)

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  37,828 ratings  ·  950 reviews
Spirited, romantic, and full of danger, Kidnapped is Robert Louis Stevenson's classic of high adventure. Beloved by generations, it is the saga of David Balfour, a young heir whose greedy uncle connives to do him out of his inherited fortune and plots to have him seized and sold into slavery. But honor, loyalty, and courage are rewarded; the orphan and castaway survives ki ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 1st 1982 by Bantam Classics (first published 1886)
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"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
Jul 16, 2008 Werner rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of 19th century fiction, and of adventure fiction
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 thing, 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 a village teacher out of luck is one thing and hard enough to believe (why
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 its 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
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' ...more
Anthony Chavez
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
Sarah ( Paris )
إنها قصة ديفيد الفتى الصغير من"اسبندين" الواقعة بـ ريف سكتلندا ..وتبدأ بعد وفاة والده بقليل .. عام 1751
عندها غادر قريته قاصدا "كراموند" بالقرب من أدنبرة حيث يقطن عمه وهناك تتسارع الأحداث عندما يصل إلى منزل العائلة الذي يسكنه العم حاليا ..
قصة مغامرات شيقة تدور في البر والبحر ..ومع أقارب وغرباء..
من مختلف أطياف المجتمع ومشاربهم ..بطلها هذا الفتى الذي ترك بلدته باحثا عن مستقبل مضمون..
وسعيا وراء حقِ مشروع .لكن الظروف الغريبة كانت له بالمرصاد..
والتي يتجاوزها بمساعدة كثير من الشرفاء ..

ستروقكمْ ..

Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

Young David Balfour discovers after his father’s death that his family has unexpected wealth and power. David ventures off to meet up with his father’s only brother and finds a man who deceives him and sells him off into slavery, sending David off on a ship bound for America. On the ship, David meets lots more bad guys and there is a lot of shooting and fighting. He falls overboard, survives to live for a while on an isolated island, and then gets thrown into a Scottish struggle
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
Micah Karahadian
This particular book focuses on adventure. I was in the library at my school and we had to choose a memoir to read. As the teacher said to the class "about 3 more munits" I started to panic. I quickly chose a book that looked at least a little interesting. I was happy I choose it. However, it was a slow start but after the fourth chapter I started to love it. It was a little hard to understand -hens the old English style Robert Louis Stevenson decided to use- but my vocabulary quickly adapted to ...more
Affan Khan
There is a very good reason why Robert Louis Stevenson's books are still made into movies. Take, for example, the Disney animated hit Treasure Planet, which was based on Stevenson's Treasure Island. The book is just as rousing an adventure now as it was more than a hundred years ago, and has therefore been the subject of many movie adaptations and the inspiration for countless other children's novels since then.
Although somewhat lesser known, Stevenson's Kidnapped is no less timeless. Following
Jason Koivu
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.
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.
Jan 20, 2014 Martha rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Martha by: Mauro MDC
Robert Lewis Stevenson can spin a yarn, no doubt. His writing is grand! He is now on my list of favorite authors. Treasure Island to read . . . . .NEXT!

What a history lesson I learned reading Kidnapped. I didn’t know about “The Forty-Five”, the Second Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. I don’t remember any history lesson in school regarding the Jacobites and their struggle, and the Appin murder in Scotland. In this edition I have, there is a good section of historical background regarding the rebellion
I loved this book, just as much, if not a little more than Treasure Island. It follows David Balfour as he is kidnapped, shipwrecked, and falls in with an outlaw.

One thing that I liked about this book, is that despite Alan and David's differences of politics, and other things, they got along extremely well. It was a good example of not making a fuss over things that are not really important under the circumstances.

Also, I really liked Alan Breck.
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.
Took me a bit to get into. Fun adventure, would love to see a movie based on the book, true to form. My kids would love it (movie). That was a lot of grief to go through. Found out some relatives are better off not known.
Lisa James
Well, even though this is supposed to be a kids' book, it was pretty engaging even for this Mom. I loved the fact that in my 1948 edition anyway, that even though the author sometimes writes in dialect, he takes the time to do footnotes of unfamiliar Scottish words that he uses in his writing. Most of it is fairly easy to figure out, but I appreciated it.

The story itself is of a young man of 17 who's father passes away & leaves him an orphan, since the mother passed years before. David gets
This is Robert Louis (Balfour) Stevenson’s 5th novel, which was published in 1886, 3 years after Treasure Island. It was considered a “boy’s novel” as it was apparently aimed at a younger audience but it is also a “historical novel” because the accuracy of the geography and political events that occurred in the highlands in the 1700’s. Some characters are based on real life characters, others are not, and the story in itself certainly is not. After reading this and thinking of the audience it wa ...more
This book had moments of magic; the kind that makes you young again, dreaming of adventure where life on the high seas as a pirate or living in the Swiss Family Robinson tree house is real and vivid- perfect in only the way a young child can dream it. However, once past the first part the book lagged for me; I actually found it a chore to finish. Stevenson does a good job of building up suspense in the beginning, giving the reader only a little information at a time like bait. But once the decep ...more
Yusef Asabiyah
I recently read this to my eight-year old son. We'd read Treasure Island a year ago, enjoyed it, and had seen Kidnapped on the library shelf next to it, so this was an obvious choice for us.

In the intervening year, we watched Ivan Passer's Kidnapped with Brian McCardie and Armand Assante, on DVD.

We enjoyed the DVD. I'd watched other film versions in the past, including the Disney on Wonderful World of Color on TV. The problem was, though the adventure story and characters were interesting, I wa
After visiting Scotland last fall and seeing Stevenson's home in Edinburgh as well as having lunch in Queensferry, down the block from Hawes Inn, I was motivated to pick up this classic, planning to scan through for places I had seen. What a great story and characters! Not only was it a treat to revisit the island of Mull and to see again the landscape of Iona from the sea, with its priority tower in the distance, but all seen through the eyes of David Balfour, a brave young hero,named for Steve ...more
While perusing a map of Scotland on my front entry wall with a friend, she mentioned this book. I immediately set out to read it and enjoyed a very intense "close study" of the book via looking up Scots phrases and scouring maps to decode the journey along the way. Very fun read and history lesson. Definitely a period type of a book, similar to reading Anne of Green Gables in today's modern world: you have to look things up on occasion to get the full meaning.

It was a wild and fun jaunt through
Most of the time I was reading this I thought it was a solid 2 stars and I was really ready to be done with it. Magically, over half way through I found myself if not exactly swept away, at least interested. Running across the wild highlands of Scotland really picked the book up: funny, that.

Eight year-old boys who can understand the language would really appreciate this one!
John Yelverton
Robert Louis Stevenson strikes again in yet another amazing novel.
Neal Dench
Many years ago, I read a short story by Robert Louis Stevenson, which taught me that I didn't really get on with reading stories written in Scottish dialect. Now, with a lot of water under the bridge, I thought I'd give Stevenson another go. The result? I still don't get on with reading stories written in a Scottish dialect. Even with the help of the occasional footnote and the Kindle's on-board dictionary, I found it distracting and hard to follow, and I just didn't get on with it.

As to the sto
David Balfour, orphaned by poor parents at 17, returns to his father's homeland to claim a lost inheritance. David is from the Scottish lowlands, a Whig and supporter of King George. Rather than embrace David, his devious uncle sells him to a ship's captain who intends to take David to America (the Carolinas) and there sell him into bondage. Before leaving Scotland, the ship picks up a stranded passenger, Alan Breck, a Scottish highlander and a Jacobite rebel. Though geographical and political o ...more
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Robert Louis (Balfour) Stevenson was a Scottish novelist, poet, and travel writer, and a leading representative of English literature. He was greatly admired by many authors, including Jorge Luis Borges, Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling and Vladimir Nabokov.

Most modernist writers dismissed him, however, because he was popular and did not write within their narrow definition of literature. It is o
More about Robert Louis Stevenson...

Other Books in the Series

David Balfour (2 books)
  • David Balfour: Being Memoirs of the Further Adventures of David Balfour at Home and Abroad (David Balfour, #2)
Treasure Island The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Tales of Terror A Child's Garden of Verses The Black Arrow

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“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.” 91 likes
“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!”
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