Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Master of Ballantrae: A Winter's Tale” as Want to Read:
The Master of Ballantrae: A Winter's Tale
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview
Read Book* *Different edition

The Master of Ballantrae: A Winter's Tale

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  3,567 ratings  ·  118 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 1888)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Master of Ballantrae, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Master of Ballantrae

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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.

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
Dec 20, 2014 Wanda rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
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
Jun 12, 2008 Cindy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
Carol Storm
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.

Anthony Panegyres
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
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
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
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
[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
The Master of Ballantrae by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Master of Ballantrae is the story of the conflict between two Scottish brothers, set in the time of the Jacobite uprising. It is a story of a family divided and in many ways the two brothers symbolize the duality of man’s nature and the corrupting force of pride. It is narrated by multiple secondary characters who were involved at critical time points in the brothers’ lives. The primary narrator is Mackellar, Henry’s steward who also serves a
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
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.
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
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.
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.
One of the darkest books I've ever read! Agonizing and thrilling at the same time. A story of brotherly rivalry taken to a bloody extreme. Definitely NOT in the same vein as Treasure Island or Kidnapped. Read for Dr. B's Scottish lit class.

Book Wormy
The Master of Ballantrae Robert Louis Stevenson
3 Stars

This novel tells the story of 2 Scottish brothers set in the time of Bonnie Prince Charlie to keep the family in favour it is decided one brother will support the Prince and the other the King, a toss of a coin decides the younger brother Henry will stay a loyalist and remain on the family land while the older James (The Master of Ballantrae) will join the Jacobites.

The story is told by a servant (and eventual friend) Mackeller along with int
An overlooked classic and maybe Stevenson's greatest work. A Gothic adventure with the same sense of fated family tragedy as Wuthering Heights. As profound and technically interesting as Bronte's classic, but a more exciting read.
This was to ease my transition from the end of Scottish lit class into summer. I'm now tempted to sit in the sweltering heat at home wearing my Scottish old man hat and read Scottish novels all summer...
amazing book.. everyone seems to have the plot wrong however. The family were not 'hedging their bets'. One son had to stay behind to maintain the family line. Normally this would be the elder son as the natural heir, but the elder son, James is determined to be the one to leave. The whole point is that the family fully support the Jacobites and James defects to the English as a spy, thus the beginning of his infamy, he had no intention to fight for the rebels, only for his personal profit as a ...more
More adult than Treasure Island or Kidnapped, and written with exponentially more skill than his better known The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde, I think The Master Of Ballantrae is Robert Louis Stevenson's best novel. The various narrators (you have to disregard the first 10 pages from this era, it's just something they did this, "I heard it from someone, who heard it from someone, who saw the papers...") are all compelling, most notably the main narrator, Mackellar, who the story is j ...more
Sinister, evil and cruel, the Master of Ballantrae, James Durie, seems to derive pleasure from ruining others' lives. Because of choices he himself made, Master Durie finds himself in a harsh predicament. Instead of using his talents to better his situation, he expends his energy trying to destroy his family. James consistently insults his brother Henry and finally goads him into a duel. This event is the pivotal point around which all involved are changed forever. The way James Durie gleans sat ...more
D. Jason
I posted a bit of a whine earlier about the difficulties I have reading Robert Louis Stevenson, but a funny thing happened after that.

The point of view shifted for a chapter, and that chapter was not only easier, it was a quick and entertaining read. Then things shifted back to the main(-ish?) narrator and, while not as smooth, the reading was certainly not as rough as before.

A few other things made the early bits slow going, apart from my apparent antipathy to the way RLS kicked stories off.

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Monastery
  • Castle Richmond
  • Born in Exile
  • Castle Rackrent
  • Marius the Epicurean
  • Virgin Soil
  • Some Experiences of an Irish R.M.
  • The Hand of Ethelberta
  • The Adventures of Roderick Random
  • Albigenses
  • The Vicar of Wakefield
  • The Temptation of St. Antony
  • Amelia
  • The Marble Faun (Oxford World's Classics)
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...
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

Share This Book

“It is one of the worst things of sentiment that the voice grows to be more important than the words, and the speaker than that what is spoken.” 7 likes
“Let any one speak long enough, he will get believers.” 3 likes
More quotes…