The Black Arrow and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Black Arrow Paperback – 27 Jul 1998


See all 139 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback, 27 Jul 1998
£18.68 £23.71
Rag Book
"Please retry"
£2.85
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Blue Unicorn Editions (27 July 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1891355813
  • ISBN-13: 978-1891355813
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 13 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,732,777 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

About the Author

Robert Louis Stevenson was born in Edinburgh in 1850. Stevenson is well known for his novels of historical adventure, including Treasure Island (1883), Kidnapped (1886) and Catriona (1893).

John Sutherland is an English lecturer, emeritus professor, newspaper columnist and author. Apart from writing a regular column in the Guardian, Sutherland has published seventeen books and is editing the forthcoming Oxford Companion to Popular Fiction.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Cecilia S. Idiart on 9 Jan. 2004
Format: Paperback
"The Black Arrow" is an exciting adventure story set in the 15th century England, when the houses of York and Lancaster fought against each other for this country's throne. Richard Shelton has to decide whether to ally with his treacherous guardian Sir Daniel Brackley against the fellowship of The Black Arrow, or try to rescue his beloved Joanna Sedley, who Sir Daniel has kidnapped. We follow young though brave Dick through towns and forests, across rivers and into hidden passages. Danger and adventure that don't slacken once in the whole novel plus a generous quota of love make "The Black Arrow" a book to be enjoyed by everyone who appreciates the fruits of a great imagination such as was Stevenson's.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mr. T. Harvey on 24 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
So, you've read 'Treasure Island' and 'Kidnapped' - why not complete the set and read Stevenson's other adventure story 'The Black Arrow'? Except for the fact that it is not up to the standard of its predecessors

'The Black Arrow' was hastily written to commission. It has pace and energy; the reader is propelled onwards by events that come on top of one another with barely room for breathing space, but all I felt was confusion. Characters are not delineated clearly, and I gave up trying to work out who was Lancastrian and who Yorkist, and the motivation for their actions.

I suppose it can be argued that in a novel of this type, all this doesn't really matter, but conventions can sometimnes be stretched just too far.

I also had a problem with the 'tushery' - the cod medieval dialogue that is another convention in this type of story (compare, for example, Scott's 'Ivanhoe' and Harrison Ainsworth's historical novels), but Stevenson lays it on rather too thickly.

There are some good things: Stevenson sets the 'look and feel' of a scene deftly and the escape and battle scenes are well done.

But I shan't be re-reading 'The Black Arrow' in a hurry.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Feb. 1999
Format: Hardcover
"The Black Arrow" is R. L. Stevenson at his best. With a smooth, proper style Stevenson creates complex, conflictive characters in an adventure full of emotion and thrills. For anyone who likes adventure, this novel is going to be one of his/her favorites because in this book Stevenson combines beauty with danger.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bri on 8 Oct. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Remember this from my pre-teens over fifty years ago and should have left it there. It worked OK then as a simple boys' own adventure but, unlike some, doesn't last into adulthood.

It's set, unusually, during the Wars of the Roses with Ellis Duckworth as a sort of second-rate Robin Hood but in East Anglia not Sherwood. The Richard Shelton/Joanna Sedley romance simply doesn't work (probably I ignored it in my younger days!), the youth must have been a right divvy not to realise she was a girl in disguise in the earlier chapters having spent so long in her company and the episodes involving Captain Arblaster and the Good Hope are a waste of time, adding nothing to the storyline. The mock "olde English" manner of speaking is, as Stevenson himself found, just an irritation and would be better updated for modern young readers.

If you are under fourteen, read and enjoy - otherwise, don't bother.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mole TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 12 Dec. 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is set in the middle of the Wars of the Roses, the battle between the great dynastic houses of York and Lancaster for the throne of England. However, it was written in the 19th century and as such is most definitely not an historically accurate description of the time or events. About half of the text could be removed and it would not really affect the book that much. The characters seem a bit two dimensional and rather predictable.

My first reaction to the beginning of the story was that there was a certain influence from the legend of "Robin Hood". The story also jumps about a bit and I found it just a bit disconcerting as the links seem tenuous at best. It's also full of what people of the 19th century thought sounded like middle English and after a while it gets a bit tiring.

It's probably OK as a read, but it's not one that I would choose to read more than once.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bridgey on 16 Oct. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Like most people I was introduced to RLS through Treasure Island. But since those early days of pirate adventures I seem to have overlooked his other works. Thinking it was about time I read another of his novels I came across The Black Arrow in a local bookshop and thought I would give it a try.

The story itself is pretty sturdy, we follow the adventures of Richard Shelton as he seeks to find the true story of his father's death. Set during the war of the Roses, England is in turmoil with people changing allegiance to which ever rose is winning, subterfuge and battles are at every turn, throw in a bit of young, forbidden love and you have the ingredients of a 'boys own' adventure.

The main problem for me was that the story just seemed to drag, and coupled with characters speaking an archaic 'middle English' language it made for quite a painful read. It hasn't put me off reading more RLS but it has certainly lowered my expectations.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Paperback
The author himself was the first to dismiss ‘The Black Arrow’. Stevenson described it as ‘a whole tale of tushery’ (he was thinking about the affected archaism of his dialogue, in particular). Critics have found little worth in this historical romance. Famously, Fanny, Stevenson’s wife, couldn’t finish it! Much of ‘The Black Arrow’ is tedious and cliché-ridden but the final 50 pages or so are well-worth reading.

The main event towards the end is the Battle of Shoreby. This fictitious battle marks a significant change in Stevenson’s ‘hero’. Hitherto, the young Richard (Dick) Shelton has been entirely egotistical and hugely insensitive to all and sundry. After the battle, Dick’s damascene moment comes through a chance encounter with Arblaster (the wonderfully named ship’s captain whose boat Dick has previously purloined in a cack-handed attempt to rescue Joanna Sedley, Dick’s true-love). Through the loss of his ship, Arblaster has been reduced to a wreck of a man. Stevenson’s description of Arblaster is as graphic as it is contemporary. Moved, Dick watches ‘the poor old man, bemused with liquor and sorrow, go shambling away, with bowed head , across the snow, and the unnoticed dog whimpering at his heals’. Arblaster has become that archetypical figure of modern times, the refugee. For the first time in his life, Dick has seen and understood ‘the cruel consequences of his own behaviour’. Subsequently, witnessing the Yorkist rape of the town after the battle ‘the thought of the sum of misery that now was acting in the whole of Shoreby filled [Dick] with despair’.

Stevenson’s villain is Sir Daniel Brackley. Brackley is not as compelling as a villain should be.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Look for similar items by category


Feedback