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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 25 October 2015
I heard a lecture on Kidnapped recently and the speaker made the story of young orphan David Balfour, kidnapped and sent to sea after trying to claim his rightful inheritance from his wicked uncle, sound so thrilling and relevant to today's world that I reread it after a gap of 40 years and was not disappointed. I grew up believing it to be a "boys' book" but it's essentially a Scottish book dealing with the realities of growing up as the main character David Balfour takes us on a tour of Scotland in his quest for justice. The folk/fairytale aspect enhances the story and it becomes reminiscent of "Pilgrim's Progress" with all the characters David meets. The story also inspires the reader's interest in Scottish history and politics forcing us to think about the Jacobites and the significance of the Campbell's. The themes are relevant to teenage (male and female) readers - rites of passage; family and friends; loyalty with violent action - but equally relatable by adults. If, like me, you read it ages ago, I urge you to reread it as it will feel like meeting an old friend.If you are new to the novel, you'll enjoy the journey and you'll get to know Scotland a wee bit more too!
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on 24 April 2001
The troubled Stevenson, creator of Jekyll and Hyde and 'Treasure Island', turned to his love of Scottish history for 'Kidnapped', the tale of Davie Balfour, a lowland Whig sold into slavery by a miscreant uncle and then, after a shipwreck, a companion of Jacobite highlander Alen Breck in a desperate escape through the mountains of Scotland with English troops in pursuit. An essentially simple tale told with wit and style, and a highly accessible classic.
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on 3 January 2016
Bought it together with Treasure Island, though I wasn't looking forward to re-reading this quite so much as I recall it being a touch dull when I first read it over 40 years ago.

Times change, and although some passages do drag, and although the heather and the dour Scots aren't as attractive as a tropical island and the comicbook pirates, I actually found Kidnapped the better of the two books.

It's a lightweight boys adventure to be sure but I don't have a problem with that, I am reading for pleasure after all. Compared to Treasure Island the shared themes of a young man growing up, loyalty, morality and friendship are moved on to a more thought-provoking level. Not to the sort of level that needs to trouble my small brain, but it's definitely a step up from Treasure Island. Added to that the history and characters used in the book have lead me to checking things out and I've gained a greater appreciation of then history of the time.

Excellent book, intelligent without being taxing and an absorbing read when you have a day to loaf and read, as I did today.
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on 29 January 2013
This is the second time that I have read this book,the first time I was a 14 year old boy and though that it was a fantastic book, a real page turner.Recently (fast forward 43 years) I was listening to a radio Scotland outdoors programme and the presenter was following the Robert Louis Stevenson trail, which is the route that David Balfour and Alan Break Stewart (Hero's) took to avoid the Redcoats (Baddies) I realized that I had been in most of the places that were on their route, the beauty is that the landscape has not really changed in 200 years still jaw droppingly stunning, and that was the main reason that I picked up this book, and again I have not been disappointed.
Tere is a statue of both the main characters in the book just off the Corstophine Road in Edinburgh worth seeing.
This is a terrific novel a classic and should be mandatory in schools.
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on 29 January 2010
It's been years since I first read this book (in Dutch at the time, I guess I must have been 13 or 14) but I still held fond memories about David Balfour's adventures in the Scottish highlands, so when I saw it published as one of Penguin's Popular Classics I bought it immediately, anxious to find out if it would prove as captivating after all these years and in English. I needn't have worried! From the very first sentence I was once again drawn into the story of David Balfour, his miserly uncle Ebenezer, and the highland 'gentleman' Alan Breck. Reading this late into the night, I felt 13 again, and as ready as then to sympathize with 'Davie' and always eager to find out what happened next (and having finished it plunged straight into 'Treasure Island' for good measure). It proved - as well it might - even better in English with the delightful Scottish words and phrases Stevenson uses in the dialogues.

One of the first but surely still one of the very best adventures stories, splendid entertainment whatever your age. I'll say nae maer!
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on 30 June 2014
This was a re-read for a Book Group suggestion. It was lovely to come across a story I remembered from childhood. And it was a proper story with nice short chapters headed with what the chapter was to be about. A good read told at a cracking pace. Perhaps some modern writers could try copying a formula which works? i.e. character is introduced, sets off on journey, meets lots of interesting people, had adventures, wins over adversity, end of story with promise of better things to come for him.
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VINE VOICEon 26 June 2014
A bit better in synopsis than to read in full. The lead up to the shipwreck was interesting as David tries to find his feet in 18th Century Edinburgh armed only with a shilling, a Bible and the recipie for lilly water. Thereafter there was far too much heather, running and hiding.

There are some lovely lines from Mr Stevenson and surely John Buchan must have been a big fan. The kindle version has definitions for most of the obscure Scottish words although it gave up on 'clappermaclaw'.
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on 11 March 2013
Reading this I was struck by how much history is included. The book gives a very vivid picture of life in the Highlands after the defeat of the Scots at Culloden; its almost as if the story was a pretext for a history lesson. The action proceeds at quite a leisurely pace. After David is kidnapped, he spends quite a while on the boat, then on an island, and it is almost half way through the book before his travels through Scotland with Alan Breck begin. The style is good however and the narrative keeps its grip. The worst feature of the book is its ending which famously is very abrupt and inconclusive.
I read it as an adult, never having got round to it as a boy. I enjoyed it well enough, but I am not sure if I would have liked it so much as a boy because of the leisurely pace and the amount of historical detail. Treasure Island is more suited to younger readers.
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on 1 March 2014
A rip-roaring tale set in the aftermath of the 45 rebellion. Alan Breck, the mercenary who started fighting for King George, then changed his allegiance, David Balfour, the naive, recently bereaved loyalist, betrayed by his only living relative and sold to a rogue ships captain to be transported to a life of slavery in the West Indies. Fate throws toe pair together in a mutual defence of their lives. Separated in a ship wreck the pair are reunited in Appin where the Hanoverian Campbells falsely accuse David of murdering their agent.. Hunted by the King's troops the pair make their way to Edinburgh, Alan Breck on Prince Charles Edward Stuart's business, and David seeking justice from his treacherous uncle. Who wins out? is it the Wee Wee German Lairdie or the Young Pretender? Does Alan Breck escape to France and is David Balfour's inheritance restored to him? Well today's Monarch is neither a Stuart nor a Hanoverian.
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on 13 January 2016
Such a classic; lovely use of archaic/Scots language and turn of phrase - and this particular edition has explanatory notes on the page so you don't have to be turning to an appendix at the back, or a dictionary as you read.
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