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Kidnapped by  Robert Louis Stevenson - Hardcover - First edition - 1886 - from Thorn Books (SKU: 18296)


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by Stevenson, Robert Louis

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  • hardcover
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About This Item

London: Cassell & Company, Limited, 1886. First edition. Hardcover. Good. Folding frontispiece map (two closed tears, repaired). Blue cloth, gilt. spine title First issue, with 'business' on p. 40 and ads dated '5.G.4.86' and '5.B.4.86'. Wear to edges, head and tail of spine, and hingeselse a very good copy. Contemporary writing on front pastedown covered by card on which the writer Robert Cameron Rogers has mounted his armorial bookplate.


Considered one of Robert Louis Stevensn's best works,  Kidnapped  is a historical fiction adventure novel, first published in Young Folks magazine from May to July 1886. The novel is considered a companion to Stevenson's  Treasure Island.  A Sequel,  Catriona , was published in 1893. The full title of the book is  Kidnapped: Being Memoirs of the Adventures of David Balfour in the Year 1751: How he was Kidnapped and Cast away; his Sufferings in a Desert Isle; his Journey in the Wild Highlands; his acquaintance with Alan Breck Stewart and other notorious Highland Jacobites; with all that he Suffered at the hands of his Uncle, Ebenezer Balfour of Shaws, falsely so-called: Written by Himself and now set forth by Robert Louis Stevenson.   The story is set around real 18th-century Scottish events, notably the "Appin murder", which occurred in the aftermath of the Jacobite rising of 1745. Many of the characters are real people, including one of the principals, Alan Breck Stewart.  Robert Louis Stevenson is the author of Kidnapped and The Children's Garden of Verses as well as the adult book, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde . During his short life Stevenson travelled the world from the South Pacific to the USA, Europe to Australia. He died at the age of 44 years old on a small Samoan island in the Pacific. -

Read more: Identifying first editions of Kidnapped


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On May 10 2012, feeney said:
If ever a book's title clearly sketched its contents, it is Robert Louis Stevenson's full name for his 1886 novel "KIDNAPPED - BEING THE ADVENTURES OF DAVID BALFOUR: HOW HE WAS KIDNAPPED AND CAST AWAY; HIS SUFFERING IN A DESERT ISLE; HIS JOURNEY IN THE WEST HIGHLANDS; HIS ACQUAINTANCE WITH ALAN BRECK STEWART AND OTHER NOTORIOUS HIGHLAND JACOBITES; WITH ALL THAT HE SUFFERED AT THE HANDS OF HIS UNCLE, EBENEZER BALFOUR OF SHAWS, FALSELY SO-CALLED; WRITTEN BY HIMSELF AND NOW SET FORTH BY ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON." Phew! *** KIDNAPPED was an instant literary success. -- First, because it was about Scotland, both the author's native lowlands and the wild, mysterious, alien-language islands and highlands. It narrates a few warm weather months in 1751. -- Second, with both his parents now dead, late teens David Balfour is sent from the village where his father had been schoolmaster back "home" with a letter of introduction to his father's evil younger brother Ebenezer Balfour. Ebenezer is currently the miserly laird of Shaws, a dilapidated estate near Edinburgh. To prevent David from reclaiming his rights, uncle Ebenezer sells him to a greedy sea captain for later resale into servitude in South Carolina. -- Thirdly, at sea, sailing all around the top of Scotland from the east coast into the treacherous, rocky waters of the Inner Hebrides, David Balfour's life intersects with that of historically attested Alan Breck Stewart. Stewart is collecting money for Scottish losers in the 1745-46 rising, now living in impoverished exile in France with James Stewart, their "King across the water." *** After fighting off together an evil captain and crew, then shipwrecked and briefly parted off the west coast of Scotland, David and Alan pursue their now intertwined missions. Alan needs to get safely across enemy territory back to France with money that he has collected. David must return to the Firth of Forth to regain his inheritance. Each is of service to the other. Alan helps puritanical David become a man, teaches him swordcraft and the ways of the life-embracing Catholic highlands. *** Their story is told in later years by David Balfour himself, from the point of view of a sheltered adolescent lowlander, a Calvinist, a temperate and docile accepter of the political status quo in Scotland. David writes with both exasperation and deep affection about his meteoric and astonishingly opposite hero: a Catholic, the greatest swordsman of the Highlands, an unapologetic man of the world, a gambler who loses all David's money at cards playing with a Highland chief. Women and girls are few and far between. Romance barely flickers once toward tale's end as a brave girl rows the pair across the Firth of Forth to safety. David is frequently ill, very ill, a human condition, he notes in passing, that is rarely mentioned by writers of books for boys. ***On the surface KIDNAPPED is pure boys' adventure tale, complete with unrelenting chase over mountains and through the heather by King George's Redcoats who think -- erroneously -- that Alan, abetted by David, has murdered a high ranking, historically attested Scottish collaborator of King George. Here is a pair of moral and cultural opposites who do much good to each other. In 1886 author Stevenson had just read Mark Twain's THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN and it shows in KIDNAPPED. *** More deeply, KIDNAPPED is about an abnormally cruel period in Scottish-English history, told largely from the point of view of the gallant highland losers. KIDNAPPED is Robert Louis Stevenson's exploration of the divided Scottish psyche: highlands v. lowlands, Gaelic v. Scots as mutually incomprehensible languages, Catholicism v. Presbyterianism, Stewart Kings v. Hanoverians, agricultual mountain clans v. small nuclear retail trading nuclear families living between Glasgow and Edinburgh. This is not a profound book, but it is a very good one. And in pock-faced, diminutive, swashbuckling Alan Breck Stewart readers have a hero not soon forgotten. -OOO-


Thorn Books US (US)
Bookseller Inventory #
Stevenson, Robert Louis
Book condition
Used - Good
Quantity available
First edition
Cassell & Company, Limited
Place of Publication
Date published
Bookseller catalogs
Rare Books;

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All books returnable for any reason within seven days, providing only that they are received in the same condition as shipped. Shipments to an Arizona address must add appropriate sales tax. Libraries billed.

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Thorn Books

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About Thorn Books

Thorn Books offers antiquarian, rare and out-of-print books. Frequently updated catalogues are available online in our specialty areas: King Arthur; Early Britain; Western Americana; California; Literature; and Rare Books. We are open by appointment only. Thorn Books is a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers of American (ABAA), the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB), and the Independent League of Online Booksellers (IOBA).


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

"Cloth-bound" generally refers to a hardcover book with cloth covering the outside of the book covers. The cloth is stretched...[more]
The collective of the top, fore and bottom edges of the text block of the book, being that part of the edges of the pages of a...[more]
First Edition
In book collecting, the first edition is the earliest published form of a book. A book may have more than one first edition in...[more]
Highly sought after by some collectors, a book plate is an inscribed or decorative device that identifies the owner, or former...[more]
The heel of the spine.
The decorative application of gold or gold coloring to a portion of a book on the spine, edges of the text block, or an inlay in...[more]
The outer portion of a book which covers the actual binding. The spine usually faces outward when a book is placed on a shelf....[more]

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