Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Black Arrow” as Want to Read:
The Black Arrow
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview
Read Book* *Different edition

The Black Arrow

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  11,034 ratings  ·  307 reviews
Caught in the midst of England's War of the Roses, young Dick Shelton's loyalties are torn between a guardian who betrays him and the leader of the secret fellowship, "The Black Arrow."
Published June 1st 2001 by Tantor Media (first published 1883)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Black Arrow, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Black Arrow

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Enjoyable historical fiction set during the Wars of the Roses featuring a merely moderately disfigured Richard of Gloucester (that is, Richard III before he became infamous), ship stealing (and crashing thereof) assaults on fortified houses, minor battles, a sinister leper, sinister wall hangings and a sinister stolen inheritance.

Ideal for impressionable children if you want to leave them with a life long suspicion of wall hangings.
"An arrow sang in the air, like a huge hornet; it struck old A-- between the shoulder-blades, and pierced him clean through, and he fell forward on his face among the cabbages."

"And then, to the wonder of the lad, this beautiful and tall young lady made but one step of it, and threw her arms about his neck and gave him a hundred kisses all in one."

This is an action movie before there were action movies! I can imagine generations of young and old readers bent over this book, as I was, drawn into
I love Stevenson as a writer, yet The Black Arrow had somehow passed me by before now. It’s a medieval Treasure Island, set during the Wars of the Roses and published, like Treasure Island, first pseudonymously as a serial publication (1883), and then as a novel (1888). Like Treasure Island, The Black Arrow is often labeled as “children’s fiction,” though the current Young Adult category fits it better—i.e. there’s a lot in it for old adults as well.

Stevenson was amusingly dismissive of this bo
Benjamin Wilkins
I have no idea why The Black Arrow is not canon in the way that Treasure Island or Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hide are. It is a fantastic read, especially if you are like me and are in any way attracted to all things medieval. But there is much to love for anyone who is fond of thrilling adventure and surprisingly complex characters: sword fights, maidens in distress who are yet not helpless, class warfare ala Robin Hood, spies, historical figures, revenge, love, thieves, daring night raids from the sea ...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in January 2002.

This medieval romance is one of Stevenson's minor adventure stories. Its main character is naive young noble Richard Shenton, who discovers that his guardian is in fact an evil man who murdered Richard's father and who looks to become wealthy by continually swapping sides in the Wars of the Roses. (The point of the guardianship is this. When a noble heir was orphaned, his revenues until he came of age were in the hands of his liege lord, or su
Gary Hoggatt
Since I enjoyed Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and enjoy medieval history, Stevenson's The Black Arrow would seem to be a perfect combination. The tale is solid, but unfortunately there are a few issues prevent it from delivering on its promise.

The Black Arrow, first published as a serial in 1883 and as a novel in 1888, follows the adventures of Dick Shelton as he discovers that his guardian may be responsible for the death of his father and se
2.5 stars. I expected to like this a lot more. Stevenson though The Black Arrow would earn even more acclaim than Treasure Island, but it doesn't come close.

The story itself is a slightly-out-of-kilter historical fiction set during the War of the Roses, but it strikes the reader more like a rip-off of Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe, published two generations earlier. Even Stevenson admitted that he fudged some historic facts for the sake of his plot. And the thinly disguised Robin Hood theme is thin
The definition of "tushery" = the use of affectedly archaic language in novels. This word was coined by the great Robert Louis Stevenson for his own BLACK ARROW, a swashbuckling tale of the Wars of the Roses. RLS was not the biggest fan of his own Lancaster versus York story, so he invented a word to describe the use of the many antiquated words in this historical novel.

"Ay, friend, a whole tale of tushery. And every tusher tushes me so free, that may I be tushed if the whole thing is worth a tu
Aug 30, 2012 Judy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Stevenson and Scott fans
The Black Arrow's setting is amidst the Battle of Roses between the Yorks and Lancasters. Dick Shelton, a gutsy orphan, finds that his guardian is foe rather than friend and to complicate matters falls in love with a rich young lady, Joanna, who is also his guardian's ward. The story reminds me of a cross between a Sir Walter Scott romance and a Robin Hood story.

I enjoyed this blast from the past, but it won't be a book for everyone because thee will findeth it useth olde English....

3.5 stars
Dash and derring-do but hell on the horses. Some surprises and lots of archaic vocabulary.
Un libro de aventuras "como los de antes", con buenos muy buenos, malos malísimos, combates a espada, honor, amor verdadero... No esperéis personajes profundos, tramas rebuscadas o evolución de los personjes. Con el fondo de la Guerra de las dos rosas que sacudió Inglaterra al final de la Edad Media, asistimos a las aventuras de un joven noble que se ve obligado a abandonar la seguridad del castillo en una lucha para conseguir que triunfe la justicia y el amor.

Un libro que sólo busca entretener.
Mike (the Paladin)
This book probably deserves a higher rating than 3 stars, but I just never got used to the language. It's been some time since I've read Stevenson. I like the story and of course the legendary happenings. In the midst of the War of the Roses vengeance being taken by black arrows with names of the one to be slain engraved on them/it. It's an exciting story based in a historic time. Just get used to the language (LOL). Sometimes, "me thinks, it me like's not"... :)
I first read this when I was twelve, and greatly enjoyed it.

Coming back to it years later, I couldn't help but notice that I liked the three villains much more than I liked the main character. I don't just mean that the villains are more interesting as characters, because that's quite common. I mean that at least the three bad guys had the good grace to feel bad for their misdeeds, and showed care and affection for their fellow-men. Our hero Richard Shelton, on the contrary, will kiss the ass of
Paul Clayton
Jan 02, 2011 Paul Clayton rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody.
Recommended to Paul by: No one.
I really enjoyed The Black Arrow by Robert Luis Stevenson. I read the original version published by Dover publications, with footnotes defining obscure terms- a quarrel, for instance, is not a discussion with your wife or husband of fifteen years, but rather a 'bolt' or arrow used in a crossbow; a bill is not what AT&T keeps sending you for your voracious online video viewing, but a weapon with a metal spike and a hook, mounted on a pole. Dozens more words, not footnoted, will send you to yo ...more
Odličan, kao i uvek :)
While not my favorite of RLS, there was nonetheless all the action and thrills my heart could desire. Loved the old-fashioned language, loved all the bits about the black arrows being meant for specific men, taking them down one by one. This is a perfect Y/A novel, wish I had read it when I was such a thing still.
Painfully --lugubrious. 'Stock' characters and hackneyed situations, predictable swashbuckling...but the real issue is the dialog. Accents so thick it is hard to wade through them ...tough to even get one's eyes down the page!
Nay, by the rood! If that I could give the book a fourth star. But alas, I find that I cannot. Suffice it to be contented with three, yet, by my sooth, three and a half stars is what I feel its worth to be.
Telma Duarte
De volta à adolescência e a um tempo em que uma aventura de arco e flecha, mesmo que fosse a preto e branco, tinha um encanto que se viria a revelar inesquecível.
Robert Louis Stevenson, transporta-me de novo ao sec. XV, em pleno conflito entre as casas de York-rosa vermelha e Lencaster-rosa branca (desta casa sairia mais tarde a nossa Filipa de Lencastre), onde encontramos o jovem herói Richard Shelton e Joana Selden, apanhados no meio deste conflito, mas determinados em lutar pelo seu amor.
Matti Karjalainen
Vuonna 1888 alun perin ilmestynyt "Musta nuoli" (Mantere, 1946) on Robert Louis Stevensonin salanimellä kapteeni George North kirjoittama historiallinen seikkailuromaani, jonka tapahtumat sijoittuvat Ruusujen sodan levottomiin ja sekasortoisiin vuosiin.

Richard Shelton -niminen nuorukainen pyrkii pelastamaan rakastettunsa Joannan vihollisen käsistä, ja joutuu sen vuoksi monenlaisiin seikkailuihin ja kohtaa muun muassa Englannin tulevan kuninkaan Richard III:en. Sivujuonteena kirjassa on Mustan N
Duffy Pratt
The surprising thing to me was that there aren't any likable characters in this book. Richard Shelton, the hero, is a bit of a dolt. On top of his lack of cleverness, he does several vile things, including murder and piracy. He's loyal and courageous, and by the end he acknowledges and tries to make up for some of his faults. But he is not the dashing, swashbuckling hero, played inevitably by Errol Flynn or Gene Kelly in the musical version.

Richard, however, is likeable compared to either the co
Ben Crandell
I read this the first time on a Christmas day in Flagstaff. It was an old faded red hard cover with other stories in it. I remembered thoroughly enjoying it. Well, I decided to revisit the tale over the holidays and I certainly loved it.
It is set in early England and it smacks of Robin Hood. There is even a figure in the story, Ellis, who has a band of men in the forest. They are out to serve justice to a list of wrong doers.
But the hero of the story is young Richard Shelton, who has his flaws.
The Silent Reader
Finally!! After weeks and weeks of reading this book I am finally done! The Black Arrow simply has to be the dullest book I have ever read! Masquerading as a swashbuckling novel of merely a couple of hundred pages, I found it to be slow in language, contrived in style, pathetic in characterisation, and sloppy of plot. If you're wondering why I plodded my way through this then...well...I can only say that once having started it I figured I simply had to finish it.

The story is set during the peri
Richard Shelton (better known as Dick) discovers that his benevolent guardian is also his father's murderer, and he now desires revenge. The story is about him trying to take back his inheritance and rescue the girl he loves from Sir Daniel (his former guardian). It is set against the backdrop of the War of the Roses.

While this tale is interesting and makes a few good points, the careless killing, poorly written romance and poor ideals made me dislike it excessively. However, it is very interest
I read this book because I did a crossword that asked for a Robert Louis Stevenson book called The Black _ _ _ _ _ . When I figured out the title, I decided to read it as I like "Kidnapped" and because I want to increase my knowledge of classics. It takes a while to get used to Mr. Stevenson's version of English at the time of the War of the Roses, but if the reader doesn't worry too much about understanding every word, it eventually flows into very comprehensible text. I would also caution a pr ...more
Noioso, ci sono un sacco di personaggi che non si capisce cosa vogliono e cosa fanno, Dick è un broccolone che non vede nemmeno l'evidenza, e John / Joanna una piagnona intollerabile (mi fa male il piede, son quasi annegata, ho fame, sonno, ecc. ecc,).

La parte peggiore è quando Dick si dichiara: nemmeno sa chi sia Joanna e già la ama. Non che la dichiarazione sia tanto appassionata e appassionante, sia chiaro. Sembra più un: passavo per la foresta, come donna sei quasi carina (che come ragazzo e
[Name Redacted]
Another classic, child-hood favorite! I haven't read it in over 20 years, so it's time for a re-read!


I'm glad I re-read it! I appreciated it on a number of different levels this time around, beyond simply enjoying the action, adventure and romance aspects. There were all sorts of historical characters and events that 9 year-old Ian failed to recognize (apparently, I didn't know much about Richard III or the War of the Roses back then). Stevenson creates arguably the most successful fictional ad
Abigail Hartman
While an enjoyable story, "The Black Arrow: A Tale of the Two Roses" wasn't my favorite Stevenson novel. I missed the Scottish flavor and the dynamic relationships of Kidnapped or Treasure Island - and, too, the color of characters like Alan Breck or John Silver. There was no one of that caliber here, except perhaps Richard of Gloucester, but I'm bitter about that so we won't go into it. The heroine was Madeline Bassett-ish, I thought; I should have liked to inform her that when you and your lov ...more
veo el atractivo de esta novela como novela por entregas, pero leída toda del tirón no me acaba de convencer y gran parte de la culpa la tiene el estilo anticuado (que hasta donde yo sé, el propio autor lo criticaba, manda narices). tampoco me convence la historia de amor, si bien dick me cayó muy bien, el insta-love que se ve en este libro me hace pensar que hoy en día no deberíamos quejarnos tanto cuando aparece en los libros. es un recurso que lleva usándose mucho tiempo. eso no quita para qu ...more
Kā jau tas savulaik (kad Ričardus vēl sauca par Dikiem) bija modē, pēc pamatīga slaktiņa viss beidzās ar kāzām.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Around the World ...: Discussion for The Black Arrow 5 24 Mar 22, 2015 01:23PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Change details or new edition? 3 21 Mar 18, 2014 08:54PM  
Is it anything like "Kidnapped"? 5 19 Mar 07, 2013 07:26PM  
Richard III: The Black Arrow 2 43 Feb 12, 2013 08:35AM  
  • Men of Iron
  • The White Company
  • The Talisman
  • The Sea-Hawk
  • Red Hugh: Prince of Donegal
  • The Prisoner of Zenda
  • The Scottish Chiefs
  • The Pathfinder (Leatherstocking Tales, #3)
  • The Elusive Pimpernel
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood: An English Legend
  • Dick Sands the Boy Captain (The Extraordinary Voyages #17)
  • The Four Feathers
  • The Women's War
  • Captains Courageous
  • Prince of Foxes
  • The Mark of Zorro
  • The Coral Island
  • Pearl-Maiden: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem
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...
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 Kidnapped (David Balfour, #1) A Child's Garden of Verses

Share This Book

“and he began to understand what a wild game we play in life; he began to understand that a thing once done cannot be undone nor changed by saying "I am sorry!” 9 likes
“I know; I don't care to die either. But when whining mendeth nothing, wherefore whine?” 4 likes
More quotes…