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Kidnapped & Catriona
Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Kidnapped is set around real 18th-century Scottish events, which occurred in the aftermath of the Jacobite rising of 1745, a time of turmoil and political upheaval. It tells the tale of David Balfour, a recently orphaned seventeen-year-old, who is left to seek his own fortune. A letter from his deceased father advises him to head to the house of Shaws in Edinburgh. He travels to Scotland as though it was a foreign country, meeting various adventures and misadventures on the way. Many of the characters in the novel are real people, including Alan Breck Stewart, the unscrupulous but heroic champion of the Jacobite cause. It is with bold skill that the author blends the real with the imaginary. The true events and the period details give colour and richness to the narrative. By using historical events as pegs on which to hang his story Stevenson succeeds in creating an enthralling action adventure. As a reader, he leaves one almost breathless with excitement and admiration. Stevenson was particularly pleased with this novel, saying that he would `never do a better book.’ The exciting sweep and drama of the tale not only engaged the interest of the young, but also more mature readers.
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