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The Master of Ballantrae: A Winter's Tale

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,101 Ratings  ·  147 Reviews
This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into pri ...more
Paperback, 374 pages
Published January 11th 2010 by Nabu Press (first published 1889)
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Free download available at eBooks@Adelaide.

This book is being discussed by the 19th Century Literature Yahoo Group.

This is the story of two brothers set during & after the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, often referred to as "the Forty-five", in Scotland, India & America.

An incident in the rebellion of 1746, by David Morier

The narrator of this book is done by Mackellar, the loyal steward to the Durie of Durisdeer family, which consists of an old lord and this two sons - James, the Master of
Gosh, I love RLS. He was the man. Adventure, intrigue, travel, romance, gothic suspense...gosh I love RLS. He would have made a terrific screenwriter during cinema's golden age, all swash and buckle. This ripping yarn just doesn't let you leave. You may pretend you're working or gardening or conversing with others during your everyday boring life, but really, you're just thinking about the Brothers Durie. Which one is really good and which one is really evil?

This specific edition is from 1968 (p
Christmas came early this year! A whole set of uncut Robert Louis Stevenson books. RLS! This is better than coffee ice cream, meat pies, and pecan rolls. Shazam!

I have already reviewed the story itself here, so I will use this review for the actual physical book. As we increasingly turn to e-books in the current century, it is always a pleasure to hold a book which was made when printing presses were considered to be state-of-the-art and most folks couldn't even afford a book, let alone a set.

Dec 20, 2014 Wanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wanda by: Cheryl, Dagny, and Karen
11 SEP 2014 -- lovely cover.

Background info for the Rising of '45 --

13 SEP 2014 -- Jacob is Esau and Esau is Jacob. Interesting play on the Biblical story.

15 SEP 2014 -- this is definitely more than a boys' adventure tale. Except for the difficult (for me, at least) written brogue, I am enjoying this novel. Of course, I already do not like the Master one single bit.

16 SEP 2014 -- today, I discovered the new depths of evil the Master is capable of reachi
mark monday
Jun 05, 2015 mark monday marked it as on-the-shelf  ·  review of another edition
I just watched the wonderful 50s adaptation of this, starring a debonair but slightly long in the tooth Errol Flynn. awesome action! awesome Technicolor! if the book is half as fun, I need to read it soon. so fast-paced and full of surprises. plus a new favorite character: the French pirate, an effete dandy and killer, with a badass scar on his face to provide a nice contrast to his stylish outfits... so dreamy. and now I'm wondering if Black Sails was renewed for a second season. I sure hope so ...more
Jul 05, 2011 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are certain corners of the high-brow literary establishment - perhaps it's the London Review of Books? - where one is often reminded that R.L. Stevenson has a complex reputation; a bit more than a writer of boys' own adventure stories - perhaps Jules Verne merits the same treatment and is analogous.
In any event, I picked this up on whim when I stumbled into Dumbo's P.S. Books, for the slightly silly reason that they didn't have anything I was really looking for but I like the people that w
Aug 17, 2011 Bev rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Master of Ballantrae by Robert Louis Stevenson is a romance in the old style--full of adventure and the heroic theme of the struggle between good and evil. It is the story of two brothers--one the favorite of his father, but somewhat a black sheep, and the other the faithful, loyal son who always does his best for the family, no matter the cost to himself. The time period is that of the Jacobite Rebellion. It served families at the time who could to back their bets both ways. The Durie famil ...more
pierlapo  quimby
Oct 20, 2012 pierlapo quimby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anglofoni, ottocento
Come nel precedente Jekyll e Hyde, anche in questo romanzo Stevenson si cimenta, pur se in modo assai più subdolo, con il tema del doppio.
Protagonisti sono i due fratelli Durrisdeer, l'uno buono, morigerato ma incapace di suscitare alcuna attrazione o affezione, l'altro maligno e dissoluto anche se a suo modo affascinante.
Il conflitto tra i due, impegnati a rincorrersi l’un l’altro per tutto il romanzo, costituisce il motore dell'opera e assume via via proporzioni smisurate e significati quasi
Dec 19, 2015 Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Me han recordado a Ballantrae y he cogido el ejemplar que compré y pensé que había leído no hace mucho. Pues eso fue hace ¡17 años!
Bastan unas páginas para reencontrarse con una manera de narrar ya perdida. Si fuera música, habría que citar Don Giovanni: lo que se cuenta es horrible y el personaje más simpático es egocéntrico, clasista y va de una truculencia a otra, pero el tono de Mozart y Stevenson es amable. La escritura nunca abandona lo placentero. Ballantrae contada por McCarthy y filmad
Feb 13, 2016 Myles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary, the-list, c19th
Robert Louis Stevenson is in a constant shoving match with Anthony Trollope to be my favorite Victorian. If it comes down to it, its pretty clear which man would win.

Hint: Its not the one who writes sensitive drawing room think-pieces.

The Master of Ballantrae has all the trappings of an adventure story, but what the reader ends up with is a novel about the allure of evil and how, by inches, we're drawn to it even as we're on guard against it.

The story is the narrative of Ephraim Mackellar, stew
Aug 31, 2015 Sandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gran-bretagna
Michele Mari, ne I demoni e la pasta sfoglia, dice che all’origine di ogni creazione artistica c’è un’ossessione che possiede lo scrittore tanto prepotentemente da trasformare lui stesso in un ossesso, esattamente come un indemoniato viene posseduto dal demonio. Robert Louis Stevenson ha la “sua” ossessione, quella del doppio che è in ciascuno di noi. Volendo semplificare, il tema del romanzo è l’eterna lotta tra il Male e il Bene, impersonati da due fratelli (nulla di più simile, di più unito d ...more
Jun 12, 2008 Cindy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
After a couple of dud books that I had been looking forward to, I was really relieved when I picked this one up and was hooked almost from the first page. Maybe it helped that I skipped the long introduction and got right into the story.

This is a retelling of the Biblical story of Jacob and Esau set during the 1745 Jacobite Revolution. Two Scottish brothers, James and Henry Durie, reprise the roles of those scriptural brothers and the conflict could not be more exciting. After a coin toss, James
[These notes were made in 1983; I read a 1925 edition:]. There's a certain amount of good, clean picaresque fun in this book. But it is overshadowed by a gloomy attempt at psychological characterization - of a man embittered by the monstrous behaviour of a quasi-Gothic brother (said brother does a brief but rather effective resurrection act at the very melodramatic close of the book). A struggle here, once again, I think, between the symbolic and typic tendencies of melodrama/romance, and the "r ...more
Carol Storm
Oct 02, 2014 Carol Storm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this as a teenager because the movie version with Errol Flynn really rocked! But the book is much darker and more psychological. Jamie Durie and his brother Henry have a tortured relationship that's truly haunting.

I really enjoyed reading a good yarn, for a change. The story of the rivalry between two brothers set in late eighteenth century Scotland was an enjoyable, if somewhat bleak read. It reminded me of how much I loved Treasure Island, Kidnapped and A Child's Garden of Verses as a child and how I savoured The Black Arrow, which was a radio serial which I loved. I recommend it as a Stevenson which is often overlooked. I am anticipating an interesting contrast with Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde which, I imagi ...more
Anthony Panegyres
Oct 28, 2014 Anthony Panegyres rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Not that alone: but the more deeply Mr Henry floundered in his brother’s toils, the more clownish he grew; and the more the Master enjoyed his spiteful entertainment, the more engagingly, the more smilingly, he went!

Henry Durie is dour, honest and straight, he also lives deep within the shadows of his charming older brother, Master James Durie. When James leaves for adventure by joining the Scottish rebellion, Henry inherits the ancestral mansion and lands along with the title of Lord Durrisdeer
Morgan Gallagher
Nov 16, 2013 Morgan Gallagher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a curious book, in that given its age, the bones of it would be seen now as a psychological thriller. But caught in its own time, it's a good narrative, well written, with a curious way of unfolding the plot.

Just as Wuthering Heights is told via the testimony of a servant, so is this tale, unfurled via various first hand accounts, written down, and assembled into a whole. This brings a touch of disbelief, as it's necessary for the servant in question to travel to the New World in his mas
Aug 03, 2011 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure
This was a great story...too bad it wasn't such a great read. I can tell Stevenson was writing his heart out, but the easy readability that made Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Dr. J./Mr. H. so much fun (albeit slightly juvenile) is totally absent here in lieu of a more ponderous writing style (something akin to one of Poe's slow-paced stories)--which might not be so bad for some, but I certainly would have never been able to make it through Ballantrae as a kid; the adventure elements are simply ...more
Carol Storm
Nov 23, 2011 Carol Storm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first became aware of MASTER OF BALLANTRAE as a lonely teenager who didn't date and spent far too much time eating chocolates and watching Errol Flynn movies on TV. But the Flynn movie (made after Errol had already begun to sag and droop and resemble a melting wax effigy of himself) did not capture the real power of Stevenson's novel.

MASTER OF BALLANTRAE is less in the tradition of OLD MORTALITY or ROB ROY, and more in the tradition of DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE. The real theme of the novel is n
Ah MrThornton...This love story is one of the best I've read all my life. The character of Thornton is fascinating and although at first he seems quiet horrible, he kind of grows on you. I even like his mother! I know that few people do, but I understand her completely, I even admire her for everything she did for her son to help him become who he eventually became. Of course I don't approve of her attitude towards Margaret but if I had a son like John, I'd definitely be like her. Margaret on th ...more
Etienne Mahieux
Jul 30, 2015 Etienne Mahieux rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Le Maître de Ballantrae" est un roman étonnant et retors. C'est un drame psychologique déguisé en feuilleton d'aventures échevelé. Il s'agit de la rivalité de deux frères, sujet éternel : Etéocle et Polynice, Jacob et Esaü, ici Henry et James Durie, deux jeunes nobles écossais. L'aîné part se battre auprès du prétendant jacobite à la couronne d'Angleterre et le cadet, en raison de l'échec de l'opération, récupère bien malgré lui le droit d'aînesse et le titre de Lord Durrisdeer, tandis que l'au ...more
Oct 07, 2015 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Стивенсон рассматривает преступление со всех сторон. Является ли преступлением кража, если цель её - насытить голодающего? Может ли закоренелый преступник раскаяться? Является ли планированное, но несовершённое преступление таким же преступлением? Можно ли совершить преступление во благо?

Владетель Баллантрэ
Я давно задавалась вопросом, как Стивенсон может быть одновременно автором Острова сокровищ и Доктора Джекила ? Этот роман - ключ. Здесь есть и приключения, и мрачный антагонизм плохой челове
Jan 14, 2009 Francisco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: clasicos, novela, ingleses
Que tu hermano sea el fantasma malvado del que debes huir debe ser terrible. Pero tener que verle salir de la tumba es mortal. Si no, que se lo pregunten a Henry Durrie.
Como siempre ocurre con Stevenson, una prosa magistral nos arrastra por medio mundo, con unos personajes dolorosamente humanos que se encuentran sujetos a sus pasiones y a sus convenciones sociales, mostrándonos el bello rostro de la maldad.
Estupendo. Breve. Doloroso.
Surrendered to boredom and the temptation of more active books and I won't bother rating it since I quit somewhere around page 100. Not one of Stevenson's best, this is best understood as a stock item potboiler whose presentation, for some reason, kept reminding me of a badly reframed Wuthering Heights. In the place of the tortured love story Bronte gave us, Stevenson delivers a particularly ham handed retelling of a biblical tale of brotherly rivalry (with the uniquely RLS touch of pirate treas ...more
Kay Donald
Jul 31, 2013 Kay Donald rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic adventure story about two rival brothers whose fates are set by the toss of a coin. The two sides of Scottish character- romantic and violent, calculating and frugal- are excellently depicted through the first person accounts of a family servant. Stevenson creates characters with so many layers that one's opinions of heroes and villains fluctuates through out and his ability to subtly imply menace is a rare talent.
Dec 07, 2012 Jeanette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just read Robert Louis Stevenson's The Master of Ballantrae. Once you get used to the style of writing, RLS draws you into his exploration of the good and bad in an individual. The master is a captivating individual but without any morality in the sense that we are used to. Loved the real adventure in this book and encouraged me to re-read all my beloved RLS poetry.
Very worth while reading.
Abigail Hartman
Oct 19, 2011 Abigail Hartman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This is a very odd book. In fact, I don't think I've ever read and enjoyed a story with such unlikeable main characters as James and Henry Durie, and I doubt if I would have liked it if it had not been for the narrator, Mackellar. His loyalty and plain sense endeared me to him, and R.L. Stevenson's excellent writing style kept me reading.
Lissa Notreallywolf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 18, 2015 Claire rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
Maybe I have just gotten sick of the eighteenth century from how much it's been emphasized at the elementary school, so that most likely contributed to my faltering from full appreciation of this Scottish love story composed in the nineteenth set then.

I have honestly tried for quite a few weeks to get over myself and try to appreciate Stevenson's prose, but I ended up having trouble and giving in before the first hundred pages. *tries a scene or two of the movie on the Internet* Perhaps this is
Aug 14, 2013 Doc rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For those only familiar with RLS's work as a buckler of swashes, this is a welcome demonstration of greater breadth. MoB is, at its core, a very modern suspense thriller, but with a pace measured in decades, not days. Sibling rivalry, psychological warfare, blackmail, and madness -- this one has it all.
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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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