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The Black Arrow

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  9,534 ratings  ·  265 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
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Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published (first published 1883)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan-Maat
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.
Karen
"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
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Issicratea
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
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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
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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
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Ron
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
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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
GoldGato
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
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Judy
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
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"... :)
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
Malapata
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.
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Sylvester
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.
Feliks
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!
Chris
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.
papalbina
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
Nathan
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
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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
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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
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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.
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Risa (a.k.a Saari)
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
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Hannah
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
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Rrshively
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
Cristina
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
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[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
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Susan
"A great read, through and through. Westerson's finely wrought portrait of gritty Medieval London is embued with great wit and poignancy. Crispin Guest is a knight to remember." -- Cornelia Read, author of A Field of Darkness, on Veil of Lies.

Crispin Guest is a disgraced knight, stripped of his rank and his honor - but left with his life - for plotting against Richard II. Having lost his bethrothed, his friends, his patrons and his position in society. With no trade to support him and no family
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Rachel
I've never read one of this author's books, so I decided this one should be more my style than some of his other, more well-known stories, being as it was a historical fiction. However, I wasn't even sure I'd get through it at first because the language was most difficult to read and understand. It's written in a *very thick meidevil speech so that not only the words bu the phrasing is even hard to comprehend at times. Also, the author chose to give several names to the main character directly ...more
Maria Grazia
Questo è stato uno dei primi libri che ho letto da bambina, in edizione ridotta, e il suo fascino si è rafforzato guardando l'omonimo telefilm, protagonisti Loretta Goggi e Reneè Reggiani.
Riletto oggi, in edizione integrale e un po' di nostalgia, è un bel libro di avventura, condito con il nascere dell'amore tra due adolescenti, un bell'inquadramento storico e la solita magistrale definizione dei personaggi.
Non il capolavoro di Stevenson, ma una lettura piacevolissima.
Thannasset
Jul 17, 2007 Thannasset rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of historical fiction of any age group
Among many other things, that Stevenson wrote something besides
'Treasure Island' and 'Kidnapped'. Mostly, was my first steer to reading/learning British history, which led to British Empire history, which led to history of insular peoples, which led to......you get the idea. I have four black arrows in my belt....
Alfredo
En ocasiones resulta interesante preguntarse «¿qué es lo que sostiene una novela histórica cualquiera?» ¿Es, acaso, un tramado complejo, pleno de detalles que reconstruyan un contexto determinado? ¿Son las actitudes de los personajes, establecidas de modo que su pertenencia a un tiempo y un espacio dados no deje lugar a dudas? ¿Es la recreación de personajes, históricos, sucesos históricos, procesos históricos? ¿Lo es todo al mismo tiempo? ¿O podría no ser nada de ello?

La flecha negra es un buen
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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  
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854076
Robert Louis (Balfour) Stevenson was a Scottish novelist, poet, and travel writer, and a leading representative of Neo-romanticism in 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
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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

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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!” 8 likes
“I know; I don't care to die either. But when whining mendeth nothing, wherefore whine?” 4 likes
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