Kidnapped

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Overview

Classic adventure novel, set in the year 1751, centers around David Balfour, a young Scotsman orphaned by the death of his father. Betrayed by his uncle, the young hero is shanghaied and headed for bondage in the New World, until a swashbuckling highlander comes to his rescue. Stirring, suspenseful; considered by Stevenson his best fiction.

A sixteen-year-old orphan is kidnapped by his villainous uncle, but later escapes and becomes involved in the struggle of the ...

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Kidnapped

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Overview

Classic adventure novel, set in the year 1751, centers around David Balfour, a young Scotsman orphaned by the death of his father. Betrayed by his uncle, the young hero is shanghaied and headed for bondage in the New World, until a swashbuckling highlander comes to his rescue. Stirring, suspenseful; considered by Stevenson his best fiction.

A sixteen-year-old orphan is kidnapped by his villainous uncle, but later escapes and becomes involved in the struggle of the Scottish highlanders against English rule.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
If you are looking for a book of adventure, then this is a perfect choice. At the young age of seventeen, David Belfour sets out alone to search for an uncle he never knew he had. On his travels he is kidnapped and from there, his life becomes fraught with perils, adventure, and near death experiences. Fortunately he meets and becomes friends with a master-swordsman, and the two of them are able to successfully cross Scotland where David succeeds in claiming his heritage and inheritance. Kidnapped is filled with excitement and captures the reader’s interest right from the beginning. The author includes a yellow box on every page that holds the thoughts of David; this helps with the comprehension of the story. This book is written in graphic format. It makes it perfect for students who are reluctant readers who never seem to finish a book on their own. Young adults who want to read anything they can get their hands on will also enjoy the graphics and fast-paced text. The full color graphics make an enormous impact on the story. Graphic novels also provide a comfortable length for reluctant readers; yet they include the substance of the original novel. It is perfect for book reports and book discussions. I did not understand why or agree with the author capitalizing entire words throughout the book, with no grammatical reason for it, but I do highly recommend this book. Reviewer: Kathie M. Josephs
Children's Literature - Naomi Butler
When young David Balfour's father dies and leaves him in poverty, David tracks down his Uncle Ebenezer to seek his inheritance. But his uncle is a nasty man with a dark family secret. David finds himself in terrible danger when he is kidnapped and taken prisoner on board a ship bound for slavery—he must escape. With the help of daring rebel, Alan Beck, David faces a wild adventure as he is hunted across the desolate Scottish moors. This handsome paperback will draw the attention of students assigned to read the title and/or the casual reader who has heard of the story, as well as the re-reader. The Puffin classics have been hailed as the most innovative and imaginative children's literature for generations. There is a nice introduction by Alexander McCall Smith that sets the story in the time and place. There is an "Author File," "Who's Who In Kidnapped," "Some Things To Think About," "Some Things to Do," "Jacobite Scotland, A Scottish Glossary," and some suggestions for other Puffin titles. Reviewer: Naomi Butler
School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up
This retelling of Stevenson's classic hits the high points of what was originally a densely written story, making it more palatable for reluctant readers or those who want to revisit the original. The text and dialogue retain the spirit of the novel, but the hard-to-read Scottish accents are softened and the passages in which characters speak to each other in Latin have been removed. On the whole this is an engaging adaptation, aided by Kennedy's vibrant illustrations in a palette dominated by blues, greens, and sepia tones. The action scenes are exciting, and readers will get a good feel for the dangers of the sea and the beauty of the Scottish Highlands. However, adapting some parts of the book and using other parts verbatim can be confusing. For example, the last sentence, about David Balfour finding the doors of the British Linen Company's bank, is quoted verbatim. Earlier mention of this bank is not included, which might leave readers wondering why it is significant. Quibbles aside, this book would make a good bridge to the novel for readers who want to delve deeper into the story, and will also prove to those readers who think they hate classics that some of them are actually kind of cool.
—Andrea LipinskiCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up—Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 classic, a timeless tale of betrayal and friendship, comes to life through the brilliant narration of Steven Crossley. His Scottish accent draws listeners in as he weaves the story of David Balfour's kidnapping, escape, and battle for his inheritance. Teens may be confused by the Scottish historic references, particularly those relating to the Jacobite rebellions. Scottish words like "ken" are used frequently, but are usually understandable in context. A searchable PDF ebook of the novel is included on the first CD. A swashbuckling adventure story.—Samantha Larsen Hasting, Riverton Library, South Riverton, UT
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780002730174
  • Publisher: Harper San Francisco
  • Publication date: 6/9/1995
  • Pages: 328

Meet the Author

Throughout his life, Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson was tormented by poor health. Yet despite frequent physical collapses–mainly due to constant respiratory illness–he was an indefatigable writer of novels, poems, essays, letters, travel books, and children’s books. He was born on November 13, 1850, in Edinburgh, of a prosperous family of lighthouse engineers. Though he was expected to enter the family profession, he studied instead for the Scottish bar. By the time he was called to the bar, however, he had already begun writing seriously, and he never actually practiced law. In 1880, against his family’s wishes, he married an American divorcée, Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne, who was ten years his senior; but the family was soon reconciled to the match, and the marriage proved a happy one.

All his life Stevenson traveled–often in a desperate quest for health. He and Fanny, having married in California and spent their honeymoon by an abandoned silver mine, traveled back to Scotland, then to Switzerland, to the South of France, to the American Adirondacks, and finally to the south of France, to the South Seas. As a novelist he was intrigued with the genius of place: Treasure Island (1883) began as a map to amuse a boy. Indeed, all his works reveal a profound sense of landscape and atmosphere: Kidnapped (1886); The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886); The Master of Ballantrae (1889).

In 1889 Stevenson’s deteriorating health exiled him to the tropics, and he settled in Samoa, where he was given patriarchal status by the natives. His health improved, yet he remained homesick for Scotland, and it was to the “cold old huddle of grey hills” of the Lowlands that he returned in his last, unfinished masterpiece, Weir of Hermiston (1896).

Stevenson dies suddenly on December 3, 1894, not of the long-feared tuberculosis, but of a cerebral hemorrhage. The kindly author of Jekyll and Hyde went down to the cellar to fetch a bottle of his favorite burgundy, uncorked it in the kitchen, abruptly cried out to his wife, “What’s the matter with me, what is this strangeness, has my face changed?”–and fell to the floor. The brilliant storyteller and master of transformations had been struck down at forty-four, at the height of his creative powers.

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Read an Excerpt

1

I SET OFF UPON MY JOURNEY TO THE HOUSE OF SHAWS

I WILL BEGIN the story of my adventures with a certain morning early in the month of June, the year of grace 1751, when I took the key for the last time out of the door of my father's house. The sun began to shine upon the summit of the hills as I went down the road; and by the time I had come as far as the manse, the blackbirds were whistling in the garden lilacs, and the mist that hung around the valley in the time of the dawn was beginning to arise and die away.

Mr. Campbell, the minister of Essendean, was waiting for me by the garden gate, good man! He asked me if I had breakfasted; and hearing that I lacked for nothing, he took my hand in both of his and clapped it kindly under his arm.

"Well, Davie, lad," said he, "I will go with you as far as the ford, to set you on the way."

And we began to walk forward in silence.

"Are ye sorry to leave Essendean?" said he, after a while.

"Why, sir," said I, "if I knew where I was going, or what was likely to become of me, I would tell you candidly. Essendean is a good place indeed, and I have been very happy there; but then I have never been anywhere else. My father and mother, since they are both dead, I shall be no nearer to in Essendean than in the Kingdom of Hungary; and, to speak truth, if I thought I had a chance to better myself where I was going I would go with a good will."

"Ay?" said Mr. Campbell. "Very well, Davie. Then it behoves me to tell your fortune; or so far as I may. When your mother was gone, and your father (the worthy, Christian man) began to sicken for his end, he gave me in charge a certain letter, which he said was your inheritance. 'so soon,' says he, 'as I am gone, and the house is redd up and the gear disposed of' (all which, Davie, hath been done), 'give my boy this letter into his hand, and start him off to the house of Shaws, not far from Cramond. That is the place I came from,' he said, 'and it's where it befits that my boy should return. He is a steady lad,' your father said, 'and a canny goer; and I doubt not he will come safe, and be well liked where he goes.' "

"The house of Shaws!" I cried. "What had my poor father to do with the house of Shaws?"

"Nay," said Mr. Campbell, "who can tell that for a surety? But the name of that family, Davie boy, is the name you bear—Balfours of Shaws: an ancient, honest, reputable house, peradventure in these latter days decayed. Your father, too, was a man of learning as befitted his position; no man more plausibly conducted school; nor had he the manner or the speech of a common dominie; but (as ye will yourself remember) I took aye a pleasure to have him to the manse to meet the gentry; and those of my own house, Campbell of Kilrennet, Campbell of Dunswire, Campbell of Minch, and others, all well-kenned gentlemen, had pleasure in his society. Lastly, to put all the elements of this affair before you, here is the testamentary letter itself, superscribed by the own hand of our departed brother."

He gave me the letter, which was addressed in these words: "To the hands of Ebenezer Balfour, Esquire, of Shaws, in his house of Shaws, these will be delivered by my son, David Balfour." My heart was beating hard at this great prospect now suddenly opening before a lad of seventeen years of age, the son of a poor country dominie in the Forest of Ettrick.

"Mr. Campbell," I stammered, "and if you were in my shoes, would you go?"

"Of a surety," said the minister, "that would I, and without pause. A pretty lad like you should get to Cramond (which is near in by Edinburgh) in two days of walk. If the worst came to the worst, and your high relations (as I cannot but suppose them to be somewhat of your blood) should put you to the door, ye can but walk the two days back again and risp at the manse door. But I would rather hope that ye shall be well received, as your poor father forecast for you, and for anything that I ken come to be a great man in time. And here, Davie, laddie," he resumed, "it lies near upon my conscience to improve this parting, and set you on the right guard against the dangers of the world."

Here he cast about for a comfortable seat, lighted on a big boulder under a birch by the trackside, sate down upon it with a very long, serious upper lip, and the sun now shining in upon us between two peaks, put his pocket handkerchief over his cocked hat to shelter him. There, then, with uplifted forefinger, he first put me on my guard against a considerable number of heresies, to which I had no temptation, and urged upon me to be instant in my prayers and reading of the Bible. That done, he drew a picture of the great house that I was bound to, and how I should conduct myself with its inhabitants.

"Be soople, Davie, in things immaterial," said he. "Bear ye this in mind, that, though gentle born, ye have had a country rearing. Dinnae shame us, Davie, dinnae shame us! In yon great, muckle house, with all these domestics, upper and under, show yourself as nice, as circumspect, as quick at the conception, and as slow of speech as any. As for the laird—remember he's the laird; I say no more: honour to whom honour. It's a pleasure to obey a laird; or should be, to the young."

"Well, sir," said I, "it may be; and I'll promise you I'll try to make it so."

"Why, very well said," replied Mr. Campbell, heartily. "And now to come to the material, or (to make a quibble) to the immaterial. I have here a little packet which contains four things." He tugged it, as he spoke, and with some great difficulty, from the skirt pocket of his coat. "Of these four things, the first is your legal due: the little pickle money for your father's books and plenishing, which I have bought (as I have explained from the first) in the design of reselling at a profit to the incoming dominie. The other three are gifties that Mrs. Campbell and myself would be blithe of your acceptance. The first, which is round, will likely please ye best at the first off-go; but, O Davie, laddie, it's but a drop of water in the sea; it'll help you but a step, and vanish like the morning. The second, which is flat and square and written upon, will stand by you through life, like a good staff for the road, and a good pillow to your head in sickness. And as for the last, which is cubical, that'll see you, it's my prayerful wish, into a better land."

With that he got upon his feet, took off his hat, and prayed a little while aloud, and in affecting terms, for a young man setting out into the world; then suddenly took me in his arms and embraced me very hard; then held me at arm's length, looking at me with his face all working with sorrow; and then whipped about, and crying good-bye to me, set off backward by the way that we had come at a sort of jogging run. It might have been laughable to another; but I was in no mind to laugh. I watched him as long as he was in sight; and he never stopped hurrying, nor once looked back. Then it came in upon my mind that this was all his sorrow at my departure; and my conscience smote me hard and fast, because I, for my part, was overjoyed to get away out of that quiet countryside, and go to a great, busy house, among rich and respected gentlefolk of my own name and blood.

"Davie, Davie," I thought, "was ever seen such black ingratitude? Can you forget old favours and old friends at the mere whistle of a name? Fie, fie; think shame!"

And I sat down on the boulder the good man had just left, and opened the parcel to see the nature of my gifts. That which he had called cubical, I had never had much doubt of; sure enough it was a little Bible, to carry in a plaidneuk. That which he had called round, I found to be a shilling piece; and the third, which was to help me so wonderfully both in health and sickness all the days of my life, was a little piece of coarse yellow paper, written upon thus in red ink:

To make Lilly of the Valley Water—Take the flowers of lilly of the valley and distil them in sack, and drink a spooneful or two as there is occasion. It restores speech to those that have the dumb palsey. It is good against the Gout; it comforts the heart and strengthens the memory; and the flowers, put into a Glasse, close stopt, and set into ane hill of ants for a month, then take it out, and you will find a liquor which comes from the flowers, which keep in a vial; it is good, ill or well, and whether man or woman.

• • •

And then, in the minister's own hand, was added:

• • •

Likewise for sprains, rub it in; and for the cholic, a great spooneful in the hour.

• • •

To be sure, I laughed over this; but it was rather tremulous laughter; and I was glad to get my bundle on my staffs end and set out over the ford and up the hill upon the farther side; till, just as I came on the green drove-road running wide through the heather, I took my last look of Kirk Essendean, the trees about the manse, and the big rowans in the kirkyard where my father and my mother lay.

All new material in this book copyright © 1988 by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 142 )
Rating Distribution

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(61)

4 Star

(35)

3 Star

(19)

2 Star

(12)

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(15)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 143 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2011

    I highly do not reccomend this book unless you speak old-english...

    I'm reading this book for a book report, oh my I can't understand anything anyone is saying, sometimes I can't even tell who is talking! There are like 20 "ye" 's on each page, and it's very boring most times. I also do not recommend this for 8th graders and under, especially ones with a small attention span like me. Its 263 pages so it takes awhile to read, waste of time. Overall I do not recommend this book unless you were born in the 1800's.

    10 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2010

    I would recommend reading this.

    I thought it was a very good story and wasn't sure what the writing from that period would be like. I am very happy that I took the chance and downloaded the story. I usually read fiction crime thrillers and this book kept my attention and I read it as quickly as I do my other choices. The story follows a nice line and gives a nice packaged ending that one would expect, no real twists or anything of that kind.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2007

    A reviewer

    this book really touched my heart

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 7, 2008

    Kidnapped: A tense but empathetic portrayal of highland strife

    Stevenson, well within his element in regards to the setting, re-demonstrates his mastery as a storyteller with Kidnapped; but unlike his works such as Treasure Island this compelling adventure story's plot and thematic elements are woven in the context of a real historical conflict. Through this spirited depiction of the Whig vs. Jacobite struggle, Stevenson is definitely trying to redeem the image of the Highlands that the English had strived so hard to tarnish back in his day. This is totally comprehensible in characters like Alan and James of the Glens who both exhibit noble manners and honor that was allegedly uncharacteristic of catholic scots in the 1700s. What's truly interesting in this book, however, is the centrality of the unlikely friendship between David Balfour and Alan Stewart. Despite their incredibly divergent upbringings (a rebellious catholic highlander and a goody-good protestant whig) they are able to transcend their own misapprehensions and prevail over the sprawling cast of cutthroats looking to sell them into bondage. Throughout this plot steeped in treachery and redemption, there are instances of benevolence and compassion revealed by the majority of misfortunes they experience, like when Alan loses their money to Cluny MacPherson. I think it's inventive how he uses the screw-ups to shed light on how important it is to swallow pride and resolve problems with the people you truly respect. I was also impressed with how the events of the story also preserved the importance of virtues like loyalty and valor, which surface from time to time in the highlander characters such as Macrob who continue the resistance for justice against English oppressors. Another entertaining aspect of the story is Stevenson's use of motifs in tying together its major plot elements. Much like the "hands" motiff in Treasure Island, Stevenson is very consistent in using themes like inheritance, especially primogeniture, to impress upon the reader what was principal or significant back in those times. All and all, it is a very exciting read and especially appealing to anyone of Scottish descent.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2013

    Great Book!

    I felt the urge to write this reveiew after reading one written March 21, 2011, in which the writer of the review was reading Kidnapped for school, and complained of the length (236 pages) and the oldfashioned writing. I have two things to say to that. One, when was written people, as individuals were much smarter than they are now, being able to read very complex books with difficult language, and comprehend them perfectly. Two, I happen to have read Nicholas Nickelby by Charles Dickens, which for your information is 755 pages long and i read it cover to cover. I am twelve. For those who want to know whether this is a good book or not, I highly reccomend it. Best of luck on your own readinging adventure!
    SGP

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2010

    Great story!

    The story moves along and is so well told, I felt as though I were witnessing it first hand.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2006

    Amazing book - one of the best.

    This is one of the best audio books I have ever heard. The narration is outstanding and great theater. The old English is beautiful (the old English is readily understood with a little thought - if the language daunts you, you might enjoy instead 'Goodnight Moon'.)

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2013

    The orange

    Orang peels on crayon and sticks

    3 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2007

    Kidnapped

    Help! Help! Those are the words of David Balfour. David Balfour is a seventeen year old boy in a realistic fiction book called Kidnapped. In the book David¿s father is dieing so he gives a man named Mr. Campbell a letter to give to David. David receives the letter after his father dies and the letter says to go to a place called the house of Shaws. When David gets there he realizes that the man living there is his uncle. Later his uncle sells David to a ship captain named Hoseason for a slave because the house that his uncle lives in is David¿s and David¿s uncle wants it all to himself. Then a guy named Alan Breck Stewart comes on the ship. David overhears plot to get Alan¿s money so David warns Alan and they both fight the crew. Later David falls of the ship and swims back to land. I enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to anyone that likes action and adventure books. I would recommend the book because it was interesting. It was interesting because the author wrote the book in first-person point of view. This made the story come form the main characters eyes and thoughts. Also I would recommend it because the imagery that Robert Louis Stevenson used was great. The imagery that Robert Louis Stevenson used was great because when I was reading the book I could picture the events that were happening in the story.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2013

    Moonheart

    She looked at emberkit.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2014

    Kidnapped

    I love this book and it is very good

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2014

    Melody

    Stays here to stay away from her husband and the deer

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2014

    Amber to shade

    Hey whats up

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2014

    Tommy

    I wamt some of shade

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2014

    Boy walks in

    Hello

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2014

    Bsbs

    Sjsjw

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2014

    Isabelle

    Looks at him

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2014

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2014

    Slave

    Puts my di<_>ck in your mouty

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2014

    Get a pink ipad

    Do it

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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