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(David Balfour #1)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  58,419 ratings  ·  1,938 reviews
Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped is at once a rollicking adventure story and an earnest political allegory. This Penguin Classics edition is edited with an introduction and notes by Donald McFarlan and a foreword by Alasdair Gray.

Orphaned and penniless, David Balfour sets out to find his last living relative, miserly and reclusive Uncle Ebenezer. But Ebenezer is far from
Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 27th 2007 by Penguin Classics (first published 1886)
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Marian Yes! I am 1/3 of the way through and every time I stop, I can't wait until the next time I can pick it up again!…moreYes! I am 1/3 of the way through and every time I stop, I can't wait until the next time I can pick it up again!(less)
George Kertawidjaja Its about a young teenager named David in the mid 18th century seeking his inheritance after his father dies. He faces misfortune after another for so…moreIts about a young teenager named David in the mid 18th century seeking his inheritance after his father dies. He faces misfortune after another for something he doesn't deserve. He eventually meets a friend who helps guide him through these physical and emotional trials in his life, as they try to return to their homeland. David's companion however is a real historical figure connected to a mysterious murder that really happened in Scotland in 1752. Robert Louis Stevenson takes a fictional character and a real historical figure intertwining them together to fill in the gaps to what could have really happened during the Appin Murder of 1752, and where one of the suspects of the murder could have eluded off to when trying to escape the wrongful blame of events.(less)

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Henry Avila
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You are seventeen Mr. David Balfour, alone in the world of 1751, in troubled Scotland, a futile bloody revolt was crushed a few years ago, by England, the parents are no more, father never spoke about his family, or the distant past , the poor, quiet introvert, a widowed school master, of the lowlands, has left his good, loving son a...

Mysterious letter, (both of them had deep secrets) for you. Go from your birthplace , a small village, the only one you know, and take the message to a lawyer Mr
James Tivendale
Nov 14, 2016 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
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
While Stevenson’s Kidnapped was not quite as strong a work as either Treasure Island or his incredibly gripping The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, it was such an exciting, action-packed, genuinely fun adventure story that I couldn’t help but love it. Set in 1751, it features such thrilling elements as a sinister, foul-tempered uncle, a ship full of villainous sailors, a shipwreck on a gloomy, deserted island, political intrigue, Murder!, the perilous proximity of the Red Coats on the S ...more
Paul Bryant
Jan 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
This is in the olden days when there wasn’t anything except boats and cows. No phones, no movies, nothing. Who would want to live there, right? But see some people did, and they had to or we wouldn't be here with all our stuff. They had to like go without so we could rock and roll.

That's deep.

So for entertainment they would play funny tricks on each other, like this guy’s uncle sells this guy into slavery even though this is a Scottish guy, so he gets coshed and wakes up on a boat to the US of
Jeffrey Keeten
Mar 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
”The woman’s face lit up with a malignant anger. ‘That is the house of Shaw!’ she cried. ‘Blood built it; blood stopped the building of it; blood shall bring it down. See here!’ she cried again---’I spit upon the ground, and crack my thumb at it! Black be its fall!’”

David Balfour’s father has died, and he is on his way to his Uncle Ebenezer’s house when he meets the local peasant woman who gives him a taste of how the local people feel about his uncle. I love that line, “crack my thumb at it.” T
Jason Koivu
Jun 17, 2011 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
Kidnapped is a young adult adventurous story. The protagonist, the young David Balfour, having become an orphan, takes on a journey to find his uncle seeking support and fortune. Little he knows of the adventure that he is to embark on, upon meeting his uncle.

David is a likable hero. Throughout his adventurous journey, David's courage, strength, and loyalty are tested, from which he emerges as a true winner. The supporting characters are chosen to suit the tone and pace of the story. Many, incl
Brett C
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I read an illustrated and abridged version of this when I was a kid. Now reading the unabridged version as an adult I really liked it. The story is solid, the characters are meaningful and interact well, and the plot was good and comprehensible. There is nothing deep or subliminal about this. That's not to say the story is shallow but is good because everything is surface level.

Throughout the story I kept wondering if the main character David Balfour was resilient and mentally strong, or just l
Swashbuckling fun, but 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 an out of luck village teacher is one thing and har
Jun 10, 2008 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
I don't know how the rest of young David Balfour's life turns out, but his early adventures where amazing. Set in 18th century Scotland during the Jacobite period, David, a loyalist to King George, and his friend Alan Stewart, a Jacobite, seemingly travel the entirety of the Scottish Highlands hiding in the rocks and heather from rival clans and the British Army. Character lessons abound, especially for young David. Just a fun book to read. ...more
Mar 05, 2008 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
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*
“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.”

I guess I’m just not going to be a big fan of Robert Louis Stevenson, which is a shame since he wrote classic adventure-filled maritime fiction. As with Treasure Island, the beginning promised more than what was delivered, although Kidnapped ended up being the better of the two because of the satisfying ending.

I liked the first half more than the
Raúl Omar

Kidnapped became my default recommendation because of two reasons: 1. none of my friends has read it (not even heard of it) and 2. it is awesome. Let me be honest: I didn´t know this book existed, I acquired Kidnapped because it was on sale, it had a cool front cover design and I liked the back cover description which seemed just nice.
I wonder why this book is not as popular as other Robert Louis Stevenson’s work, I’m guessing it's because the novel is way too Scottish for any reader who happen
Jul 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rth-lifetime, 2014
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 it's 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
A dashing classic adventure with loads of action to keep the story moving. It's got a very nasty villain and a mostly very good hero. The hero's friend is both good and bad together. Each main character is strongly drawn and memorable, though the story is focused more on action than on motivation by a long shot.

The action indeed is incessant and often heavy, from shipboard to progress across land.

This classic definitely has reason for being one and I'll be reading the sequel this year.
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If "Treasure Island" established the nearly-unrivalled standard for the "intelligent and morally realistic swashbuckling adventure", "Kidnapped", I think, was the novel with which Robert Louis Stevenson redefined the very meaning of the words "swashbuckling adventure" itself. The title is deceptive - the actual abduction, an act of insidious treachery, is only a very small part of the actual meat of the book's narrative and instead, it is what follows that single travesty that gives the novel no ...more
Jan 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, novels, audio
Kidnapped was one of my "audio classics," the public-domain audiobooks I listen to on my phone when I'm walking the dog, washing dishes or shopping. I picked it on a whim, not knowing anything about the plot – presumably, someone gets kidnapped – and was pleasantly surprised. The first half of the book especially is exciting, filled with suspense as the protagonist arrives at his uncle's house and tries to figure out why he's being received so coldly, even treacherously. The book has attempted m ...more
Although I know I've read Treasure Island through the same pirate sea twice, I wasn't sure about the almost-as-famous Kidnapped. If I did read it once, the memory of it is gone, so let's say this was a first go-round.

My biggest observation is that is gets off to a roaring start, adventure-wise (which is what you want, nae DEMAND, of a Robert Louis Stevenson), because at first there's the mystery of young David Balfour's dead father and living uncle (his brother) and estate, and then there's the
Jonathan Kranz
May 06, 2013 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
A young David Balfour didn't expect to be kidnapped when he sought his Scottish kin at the bleak and isolated house of Shaws. Much preferred the first half of the novel, life aboard the vessel Covenant and Davids interactions with an unscrupulous crew.

Whilst I did enjoy this swashbuckling adventure I have to admit that I far preferred the more convoluted Master of Ballantrae.

Read the free edition without any issues.
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The description of this book is a summary of it - spoiler alert! Thankfully, it doesn't matter to me since I read it once long ago. I didn't think much of it then, but I found myself liking it better this time through. I missed a lot as a youngster. As so often is the case with assigned reading, I didn't have enough life experience to really appreciate it yet.

The characters were great, especially David & Alan. Their failings brought the story to life more than their accomplishments. It was a gre
May 18, 2009 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
Έρση Λάβαρη
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
First published in 1886, “Kidnapped” is a torrential adventure set in Scotland soon after the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. David Balfour, a young man of sixteen years who no longer has a family to hold him in Essendean, his birthplace, and keen to claim his own adventure, finds himself in Queensferry, where his father led him with a letter and bespoke him to assert his fortune–in the face of the sublime House of Shaws, now inhabited by his father’s brother, Ebenezer. Uncle Ebenezer deceives David ...more
Apr 11, 2011 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.
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote "Kidnapped" as a story that could be read to a child and that they would enjoy it. This is absolutely true. Kidnapped is a great story.

It is the story of young David Balfour. After his parents death he strikes out to find his inheritance. Unfortunately, his Uncle on his father's side has other plans. This begins the trials of young David as he is kidnapped on board of a ship sailing to the Americas. On this ship he meets his traveling companion and erstwhile savior-
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!
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Never knew the novel was intertwined with a historical event, the Appen Murder of 1752.

"A word once spoken, who can recapture it?"

"What makes ye so good to me? What makes ye care for such a thankless fellow? Deed, and I don't, know. For just precisely what I thought I liked about ye, was that ye never quarreled; -- and now I like ye better!"
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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 onl

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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.” 156 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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