‘Kidnapped’ is an adventure story in which the tensions run deep, not only between pursuer and the pursued, but in ancient misunderstandings between the two heroes: Whig and Jacobite; Lowland rationalist and romantic Highlander. This edition has a foreword by well-known Scottish novelist Alasdair Gray.
Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped is at once a rollicking adventure story and an earnest political allegory. This Penguin Classics edition is edited with an introduction and notes by Donald McFarlan and a foreword by Alasdair Gray.
Orphaned and penniless, David Balfour sets out to find his last living relative, miserly and reclusive Uncle Ebenezer. But Ebenezer is far from welcoming, and David narrowly escapes being murdered before he is kidnapped and imprisoned on a ship bound for the Carolinas. When the ship is wrecked, David, along with the fiery rebel Alan Breck, makes his way back across the treacherous Highland terrain on a quest for justice. Through his powerful depiction of the two very different central characters – the romantic Breck and the rational Whig David – Stevenson dramatized a conflict at the heart of Scottish culture in the aftermath of the Jacobite rebellion, as well as creating an unforgettable adventure story.
This new edition includes a foreword by Alasdair Gray discussing Stevenson’s life and literary career and how he came to write Kidnapped. In his introduction, Donald McFarlan considers the novel’s realism and a depiction of Scotland. This volume also includes a historical note, a map, notes, new further reading and a glossary.
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) was born in Edinburgh, the son of a prosperous civil engineer. Although he began his career as an essayist and travel writer, the success of Treasure Island (1883) and Kidnapped (1886) established his reputation as a writer of tales of action and adventure. Stevenson’s Calvinist upbringing lent him a preoccupation with predestination and a fascination with the presence of evil, themes he explored in The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), and The Master of Ballantrae (1893).
If you enjoyed Kidnapped, you might like Jack London’s The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and Other Stories, also available in Penguin Classics.