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Kidnapped (David Balfour #1)

3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  41,824 Ratings  ·  1,061 Reviews

As he sets off into the world to seek his last remaining kinsman, Uncle Ebenezer, young David Balfour has no idea of the hazards and intrigues that the encounter will bring. He finds his uncle to be a decrepit, miserly man, and soon realizes that Ebenezer is also a liar. But before he can fathom his machinations, David is tricked into boarding the br
Paperback, Penguin Popular Classics, 225 pages
Published 1994 by Penguin Books (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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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
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
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 ..

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
Anthony Chavez
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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
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
Micah Karahadian
Oct 27, 2011 Micah Karahadian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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.
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 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
Feb 08, 2016 Heidi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun, rollicking adventure through the Scottish Highlands and Lowlands. Young David believes himself to be an orphan without relatives or means when he comes of age and sets out to make his way in the world. So he's surprised to be given a letter to take to Shaws, an estate near Edinburgh. He goes to Shaws expecting that the mysterious letter will recommend him for a position there, but then he finds that Shaws is his family home, owned by his miserly and wicked uncle. His uncle doesn't take kind ...more
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.
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.
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
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
Dec 04, 2011 Nickolas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 24, 2009 Lara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 14, 2011 Yusef Asabiyah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 29, 2015 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 28, 2015 Will rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is one of the most evocative titles in literature. "Kidnapped." The word itself is sufficient to send shivers up one's arms. And the story that follows is as good as Robert Louis Stevenson can make it, which is pretty good. Consistently exciting, with a great pair of protagonists in David Balfour and Alan Breck Stewart, who are true companions to the end. Just fabulous reading. Thoroughly enjoyable.
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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.” 105 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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