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Fev 8, 2014, 2:21pm

A perennial read for me is Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. There is just something so compelling about this adventure that draws me endlessly back each year to recount the trials of young David Balfour and his accidental friendship with Alan Breck. Their tribulations are nothing short of those sorry events in our lives that make or break us, or at the least experience us through none other than surviving through the distaste of laying down to full submission to our debts and demons.

If you have not read Kidnapped, do so, for I wager you will enjoy the adventure and romance as much all of us who have done so before you.

Fev 20, 2014, 5:25am

I was on the Isle of Mull once, but didn't know enough to find my way to the 'sometimes' island that Balfour thought he was trapped on. I love those scenes, as he works his way from the shipwreck back to contact with Breck.

I assume you've read Catriona, the sequel. Not as good, but Kidnapped is so wonderful to 'live' in for a time that I was pretty well primed for any sequel, and Catriona is a pretty good story of its own.


Fev 20, 2014, 7:29am


I did enjoy Catriona but funnily enough I have not returned to it though it's prequel I have done so many times. I think on reflection, it comes down to not having that flight in nthe heather with the man who bears a King's name, though of course the Bass Rock incidents kept me engrossed in the adventure.

Editado: Fev 24, 2014, 8:07pm

I read a book by Stevenson named David Balfour. Might still have it, although it's very old and might turn to dust if jiggered with. Somehow I thought it was the sequel to Kidnapped. Don't know anything about Catriona.

I just checked the touchstone to David Balfour, which takes you to Kidnapped. However, unless I am mistaken it is not the same book.

Fev 24, 2014, 1:39am

David Balfour is Catriona; the former is the published name in the USA.

Catriona starts off on the very day that Kidnapped finishes.

Fev 25, 2014, 2:01pm

Ah, thanks for clearing that up. It's been a long time since I read it.

Maio 10, 2015, 1:15am

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Maio 10, 2015, 1:17am

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Maio 10, 2015, 2:45am

Yes a great yet awful part of the journey for Davie. Free from his Transatlantic Gaolers, but tired, wet, alone and on the run.

Maio 10, 2015, 3:02am


A timely reminder. I haven't read Kidnapped since January 2014: around 16 months. Definitely time for a revisit. Catriona not since 2009 according to my records. Goodness, that is long overdue for another reading.

Maio 11, 2015, 2:10pm

>7 EclecticIndulgence:
If you like reading about the Scots, check out Sir Walter Scott. He's fifty years before Stevenson and his prose shows it, but his story telling skills are wonderful. I would recommend starting at the beginning with Waverley.

Maio 11, 2015, 2:42pm

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Maio 11, 2015, 7:53pm

If you want a more Stevenson like Scott novel, then The Bride of Lammermuir, jumps right into the action. Recommended.

Nonetheless they are both excellent at what they do. Scott is much more thorough. Stevenson is more swashbuckling.

I love them both.

Waverley is just brilliant with a big W. Rob Roy is also excellent.

Editado: Maio 11, 2015, 11:09pm

>12 EclecticIndulgence:
My sense is that Ivanhoe is often the one of Scott's works that folks in the US know, possibly because stories of chivalry and knighthood are more generally popular than stories of The Fifteen or The Forty-Five.

I find Waverley and Rob Roy to be equally enjoyable Scott works, and, of the two, would start with Rob Roy simply because of the historical chronology (this recommendation has nothing to do with my LT name, btw). The Bride of Lammermoor is probably an easier intro to Scott if you've not read much from this period. You need to read all three eventually, along with The Heart of Midlothian, my personal favorite.

Regardless, you do have to adjust to an early 19th century idea of the novel. English usage is, of course, a bit archaic, and the amount of detail is more than most modern readers are accustomed to.

FWIW - here are links to lists of Scott's fictional works (often referred to as "The Waverley Novels", chronological by setting and by publication.


PS - don't get too hung up over the term "Waverley Novel" in reference to Scott's works. This usage was so common in the 19th c. that it eventually came to be applied by many publishers to any/all of his fictional works.

Maio 16, 2015, 4:39pm

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Maio 17, 2015, 8:52am


You will enjoy it, I'm certain of it, if you took pleasure from Kidnapped.

Maio 22, 2015, 2:18pm

Reading these posts made me want to read Kidnapped again. I haven't read it since I was a young teen and had forgotten most of it. Having now reread it one thing strikes me above all others: this is an homage, whether intentional or not, to Sir Walter Scott's Waverly novels. Beginning with the idea, a newspaper article about a highlands murder and its immediate aftermath. Then we have the standard young man leaves the nest in search of family and fortune, finds adventure, and wins through in the end. In Scott there is usually a damsel or two involved and our hero gets the girl. The differences I see are minor. Scott uses a lot more Scottish/Gaelic dialogue, so much so that there is a small learning curve just to read the stories. Scott's style is a bit more archaic and speech is generally more flowery. Some of Scott's characters show up in this novel. Drummond Dhu and relatives of Rob Roy. The situation of Stirling Castle is familiar to anyone who has read Scott. The arguments between Clans of course is the stuff of legends and is really, as far as I can tell, the history of the hielands so you expect to find it in any historical work set in Scotland at this time. Scott deals more with the religious differences than Stevenson. Being born and raised in the areas settled by the refugees during this time I am very interested in these religious differences. They help explain the religious mess in this country today.

Except for a few minor differences I find this as much a continuation of Scott's Waverly novels as much as anything.

Maio 22, 2015, 8:04pm


There is without question, an appreciate of Scott in Stevenson's work. And Huzzah to that! :-)

Dez 26, 2015, 8:22am

Just whizzed through Kidnapped again in these last couple of days. It reads as fresh to me now, as on my first reading years upon years ago. And without fail, I brought to a watery eye in one particular spot!

Dez 26, 2015, 3:43pm

>18 LesMiserables:
I'm currently reading The Abbot by Scott and ran across an anecdote about an instance where a dog was running ahead of one of the protagonists up an abandoned staircase in an old, broke down castle tower when it fell through the steps onto several bales of hay. Sound familiar?

Dez 26, 2015, 10:04pm

>20 geneg:

Quite so. I doubt Scott had the literary rights to broken staircases, but the scene is well used for it's dramatic effect, especially during a storm! :-)

How are you enjoying The Abbot?

Dez 27, 2015, 3:15pm

The more Scott I read the better I like it. Here in the US there are those who would engage in a religious war between fundamentalist Christianity and more moderate flavors of Christianity and Scott, through everything I've read so far, with the exception of Ivanhoe has as a major, underlying theme the religious strife along the borderlands. With this in mind, I wish everyone would read Scott. He does a great job pointing out how debilitating to the welfare of a society religious strife can be. Of course he tells great stories, as well. But you have to have a taste for the romantic to appreciate him. I'm afraid not many do these days.

Mar 1, 2016, 10:07am

I will be making a visit back to Scotland in June/July and will be visiting a few places, Abbotsford is on the list.

Mar 23, 2016, 3:04pm

Thank goodness the family has put the estate into the hands of the Abbotsford Trust. I was especially concerned about the long-term health of the library, which remains intact on the shelves much as Scott had kept them, and was being catalogued by the Advocates Library when I visited there around 2005. With no humidity controls and wide temperature fluctuations, and care of the collection limited by the family's resources, the Advocates Library were concerned about preservation. I hope the Trust gives this amazing collection the priority it deserves.

LesMis, I'd love to hear from you about your visit. The Trust reports 12 million pounds spent on preservation and restoration of the building, the library, and other Scott collections.


Mar 23, 2016, 1:11am

I'll be sure and report back. That is good news on the preservation work. This is a national treasure.

Abr 18, 2016, 7:30pm

Well I was at Abbotsford today, making the visit earlier than expected due to an unexpected trip to Scotland. I am very impressed with the place. The visitor centre is very good and the staff lovely. The building itself is highly impressive and the preservation and restoration is complete. Lovely walk to complete my visit through Scott's estate and back by the Tweed.

Abr 19, 2016, 3:36pm

I'll go hide in the woods where no one can see me because I am green with envy.

Abr 19, 2016, 4:29pm

>27 geneg:

Ha, yes, well we all suffer from that when we read of the exploits of others. Today I took the hire car for a spin up Loch Lomond to Fort William and headed west and visited the Glenfinnan Monument, a very important place in Scottish History. Next stop was Mallaig with beautiful views across the sound to Skye and the Cuillins. On the return instead of going back again through Glencoe, I headed west out to Oban and down towards Argyle, coming through Inveraray and Arrochar before returning to Loch Lomond and down to Glasgow. A great wee trip, evoking fond memories. Ben Nevis was fully capped in snow today and was as impressive as I ever remember it. For other reasons this has been a sad trip for me, but these outings have been therapeutic. One thing they have done is to spur me on to reading more Scott!

Dez 24, 2018, 12:27pm

Just finished my annual reading at Christmas and I never tire of this book. In fact, this year I think I enjoyed it more than ever, certainly feeling moved in a few parts, which I expected but with a greater degree.

Jun 15, 2019, 11:05pm

Has anyone else listened to Cosma's Kidnapped rendition? Love it.
Check out La Légende de David (From "L'enlèvement de David Balfour") Kidnapped by Vladimir Cosma, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande on Amazon Music