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The Black Arrow

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  12,722 Ratings  ·  369 Reviews
From the beloved author of Treasure Island

Originally serialized in a periodical of boys' adventure fiction, The Black Arrow is a swashbuckling portrait of a young man's journey to discover the heroism within himself. Young Dick Shelton, caught in the midst of England's War of the Roses, finds his loyalties torn between the guardian who will ultimately betray him and the l
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published (first published 1888)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Apr 09, 2016 Werner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of historical fiction in the Romantic style
This was a reread for me, but my previous experience of the book was back in junior high school. (A lot of it I consciously remembered; much of it I recalled once reminded, and some of it was like a new book to me.) I'd wanted for some time to reread it, both so as to write a better-informed review and to see if my youthful liking for it held up under the scrutiny of an adult perspective and more experienced taste. Obviously, it did! Some might say I'm too prodigal with five-star ratings; but ba ...more
Debbie Zapata
Apr 21, 2016 Debbie Zapata rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pg
I never knew about this book until seeing it on Gutenberg. Which seems odd, because Stevenson's Treasure Island was one of my favorite stories when I was little. My dad read it to my brother during an illness, and I was not supposed to listen (it was a boy's book, according to my mother) but I could hear Dad's voice and was thrilled by the story. But I never thought to search for other adventure tales by RLS. I've read a lot of his work since then, but this one was new to me.

I am a bit hazy in m
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.
Dec 27, 2008 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
"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
George Jankovic
This book was such an unexpected dissapointment.

It was one of my 20 or so favorites when I was a kid. My son is now of that age and I wanted to recommend it to him so, just in case, I wanted to re-read it first since I didn't remember anything except that it was set in England during the War of the Roses period.

It is an interesting coming-of-age adventure story with action, revenge, and forbidden love. Unfortunately, it is so poorely written. Considering how much I liked it then, I will give i
Dec 01, 2014 Issicratea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, 1800-1900
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
Jan 13, 2013 Simon Mcleish rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
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
Jan 05, 2014 Ron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young, ebook, gutenberg
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
Maruf Hossain
May 08, 2016 Maruf Hossain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
গোলাপের যুদধের সময়ের ওপর ভিততি করে লেখা বই। লযাঙকাসটার আর ইয়রক - দুই হাউসের যুদধও গুরুতবপূরণ অনুঘটক বইটার।

নায়ক ডিক শেলটন আর দশটা খাঁটি ইংরেজ নায়কের মতোই। সাফলয লাভের আগে চূড়ানত ভোগানতির ভেতর দিয়ে যেতে হয় ওকে। পিতার খুনি ডযানিয়েল সেজে বসে ওর অভিভাবক, শেষে যখন খুন করতে যায় ওকে তখন পালায় ডিক। ডযানিয়েল আটকে রাখে ডিকের পরেমিকা জোয়ানা। বার বার নিজের বাড়ি-পরেমিকা উদধার করতে গিয়েও বযরথ ডিক। এত দুরদশা সহয না করতে পারলে খাঁটি ইংরেজ নায়ক হয় কেমনে!
শেষে বহুত কাহিনি-টাহিনি কইরা নিজের হারানো সামরাজয ফেরত পাইল
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
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"... :)
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
[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
Aug 30, 2012 Judy rated it liked it  ·  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
Dec 16, 2015 Wardahtuljannah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
The Black Arrow bercerita tentang petualangan Richard Shelton. Richard atau yang lebih sering disapa Dick (sebenarnya saya tuh bingung ini Dick dari mana ya ;;) kehilangan orang tuanya sehingga diasuh oleh Sir Daniel Brackley.

An arrow sang in the air, like a huge hornet; it struck old Appleyard between the shoulder-blades, and pierced him clean through, and he fell forward on his face among the cabbages.

Kisah ini dimulai ketika mereka mendapati panah hitam telah membuhuh Appleyard, salah seorang
Alicia Willis
I liked this book. It was an interesting story and it did keep me reading. However, there were some quirks. Some parts were hard to follow, others didn't seem quite historical. Overall, this is a good story. but not one I would read many times over.
May 05, 2008 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Renee M
Light on history. Heavy with the trappings of adventure. This was a lot of fun to read.
Dec 05, 2014 Nathan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
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 it was amazing  ·  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
Mike Roach
I soooo wanted to like this book. The author is a good dead white European male (all pluses in my book) and the subject matter is medieval English history. It will be like Sir Walter Scott! Well, no. First, the dialogue is hokey, the scenes with the love interest who is mistaken to be a boy are supposed to be hilarious in a Yentl sort of way (the same thing happens in Swiss Family Robinson, how does one mistake a twenty year old woman for a fourteen year old boy? Seriously, Lois Lane is more per ...more
Oct 12, 2015 Marijan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Kad se serija prikazivala,dok smo bili klinci, starci su nam punili glavu pričama o djeci koja su izvila oko jedni drugima gađajući se lukom i strijelama. Vječiti klasik za malo veću djecu.
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!
**2015 Reading Challenge W/Josh: #23 A Book More Than 100 Years Old**
Nov 06, 2015 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book when I was younger, somewhere between fifth and seventh grade. Wow, I was a very precocious youngster to get through this book and enjoy it! Because it was a little hard to read now!

Robert Louis Stevenson is apparently the king of concise beautiful description. You can clearly see the scenery, but it doesn't take an inordinate amount of words! Also, his battle descriptions are very clear and not boring and he doesn't use maps! (Looking at you Henty...)

And his plot is soooo inte
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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...

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“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!” 12 likes
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