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Kidnapped (David Balfour #1)

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  46,185 Ratings  ·  1,222 Reviews
When young David Balfour is orphaned, he discovers some surprising truths about his family. His meeting with his uncle Ebenezer turns out to have disastrous consequences leading to kidnap and imprisonment on board a ship bound for the Carolinas. The voyage is full of incident and, after violent conflict and a shipwreck, David finds himself in a daredevil chase across the S ...more
Hardcover, 225 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by Barnes & Noble (first published 1886)
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Jim Isaac is quite adventurous and heart breaking one I read it as a kid.....
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Community Reviews

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James Tivendale
Dec 20, 2016 James Tivendale rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
"I have seen wicked men and fools, a great many of both, and I believe they both get paid in the end, but the fools first."

We find ourselves in Bonny old Scotland - circa June 1751 - King George and the red-coats rule this empire. Following on from the Jacobite Revolution; we are introduced to an innocent teenage gentleman known as David Balfour. To initiate the narrative; David and the minister, Mr. Campbell discuss the necessity for a journey that our young hero should take following the unti
Jason Koivu
Dec 18, 2015 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Why haven't I read more Stevenson? Perhaps because from what I can tell his writing feels as remote and cold as the Scottish Isles. It can be beautiful in its way, but you often forget it's there in favor of more popular destinations with more color and pizzazz.

In a way, Kidnapped feels a little like the Scottish version of Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo, which I was never overly fond of. Something about the story doesn't grab me. Although it should, as I just recently endured a similar situa
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 moment, 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
Jun 10, 2008 Kathleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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 really liked it  ·  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
Feb 21, 2015 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sarah ~
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 ..

Jan 02, 2015 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, rth-lifetime
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
Anthony Chavez
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jonathan Kranz
May 06, 2013 Jonathan Kranz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-ya
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
Apr 11, 2011 Shiku rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Luís C.
An adventure novel "old age" with a classical writing, notions of honor clan and family names, pirates and benefactors, grounding, a grueling walk in the heather of Scotland and a young boy who becomes man. A map of Scotland and the different clans involved would have been welcome in book publishing ... but follow the adventures of David Balfour, not always smart, was pleasant.
Feb 23, 2012 Hadley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 26, 2013 Santiago rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 20, 2016 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars, primarily for the audio book. I doubt I could have made it through the book if it weren't for the Audio CD. It is a wonderful adventure with historical significance and action but with decidedly Scotch language. What I like most is how realistically hardship is portrayed. You can almost feel the exhaustion, dehydration, worry, etc. David's actions can be unlikable. Alan can be a pest. Yet both are in the end devoted to each other and fun to read about.
This book also proves that cliff h
Well, 4.5*

I enjoyed Michael Page's narration very much & his Scottish burr seemed spot on to these American ears. Betrayal, friendship and adventure in 1751 Scotland with some Jacobite politics in the background... What fun!
Oct 22, 2015 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Kidnapped" is based on certain real events which are outlined in the Preface written by Stevenson's wife. Broadly speaking, the case of Balfour himself is evidently loosely inspired by another celebrated level case involving an uncle kidnapping a nephew to prevent the latter coming into an inheritance.

Stevenson takes all these elements and creates a brilliant, exciting adventure novel peopled with vivid characters. Set in the Highlands of Scotland the events are infused with local colour and o
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.
Affan Khan
Jun 14, 2012 Affan Khan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 29, 2016 Martha rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Maruf Hossain
Jun 01, 2016 Maruf Hossain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
আরেকবার রিভাইজ দিয়া দিলাম। ছোটবেলার পড়া আর এখনকার পড়ায় তফাত আছে। তখন পড়তাম আর মজা পেতাম, এখনও মজা পেতেই পড়ি, তবে ছোটবেলার মতো অতটা নিষপাপভাবে পড়তে পারি না। দৃষটিভঙগি একটু হলেও বদলেছে, বদলেছে মানসিকতা।

হিসটোরিকযাল ফিকশন আমার পরিয় জনরা, অযাডভেঞচারও। দুটোই আছে এ বইয়ে। এতিম ডেভিডকে নিষঠুর চাচা এক জাহাজে বেচে দেয়। সেখান থেকে ডেভিডের আবার ফিরে আসার উপাখযান এ বই। বযরথ সকটিশ বিদরোহের সময় কাহিনির বড় একটা জায়গা জুড়ে আছে।

সব মিলিয়ে দারুণ এক পযাকেজ - অযাডভেঞচার, শতরুর সাথে মিকি মাউস খেলা, আর অমলমধুর হযাপি এনড
Dec 11, 2007 Eyebright rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Oct 08, 2016 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-star
A grand tale of adventure in the Scottish Highlands I should have read as a teen.
Benjamin Stahl
May 31, 2016 Benjamin Stahl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People Who Like Poking On Facebook
Shelves: classics
I’m just gonna write a short one this time. Generally I love these kinds of classics. I’m not one of those douche-dripping bags who says he hates old books because they’re hard to understand. My favourite books are mostly from the nineteenth century, which isn’t really that old in the greater scheme of things, but you know what I mean. Generally I love these kinds of books. And I was expecting to love this one as well. If it was anything like Poe’s Gordon Pym (which it kind of is), and Jules Ver ...more
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
Dec 10, 2008 Arick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 15, 2016 Schuyler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every time I savored a chapter, I felt like I was spending the summer with my best friends. The last chapter was a beautiful way to kick off the work week today. I've lost count of the number of times I've re-read this. :)
My heart's in the Highlands...

When young Davie Balfour is left orphaned on the death of his father, he is given a letter that his father left for him and told to take it to one Ebenezer Balfour, Esquire, of Shaws. Dutifully he obeys, only to find that miserly old Ebenezer is his uncle, who is not best pleased at having his nephew foisted upon him, for fear he may discover the family secret. So Ebenezer tricks David into going aboard the brig Covenanter, where he is promptly knocked senseless and
Sep 08, 2016 Tom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scottish-lit
I learned some really neat things in this novel, like the difference between Jacobites and Jacobins, which, for the life of me, I could never keep straight, though they reside on different sides of the Channel and were born more than a century apart, and I have pretensions of being an amateur historian (in a minorly amateurish way). And I learned some really cool Scottish Gaelic phrases, like "sneck-draw," which means "a crafty fellow." If I owned a race horse, I would name it Sneck-Draw, and be ...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)

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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.” 120 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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