Kidnapped (1886)

by Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Kidnapped as an adventure story for boys, but it is still enjoyed across age and gender almost a century and a half after publication.

Davie Balfour, orphaned at 17, takes a letter of introduction from his late father to an uncle heís never met. Uncle Ebenezer turns out to be a scoundrel, plotting to steal Davieís inheritance by having Davie kidnapped and bound for slavery in the Carolinas. The ship is wrecked off the Scottish coast, but not before rescuing a young man named Alan Breck Stewart (a real rebel during the 1745 Jacobite uprising in Scotland) who becomes Davieís fast friend.

The tense political situation in mid-18th-century Scotland is very much a factor in the many adventures of Alan and Davie as they make their way over the Highlands. They fear for their lives because they have witnessed and are blamed for the murder of the kingís henchman. Eventually Davie assists Alanís cause and Alan helps Davie reclaim his inheritance.

Kidnapped can indeed be enjoyed by young people as an action adventure story. For readers of any age, however, itís also a historical fiction novel based on real events, a coming-of-age story, and a moving tale of friendship and loyalty.


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