Saturday, 12 April 2014

A-Z Challenge: K

Hello Everyone,

The letter is K, and so the book is Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. Something that not many people know about Robert Louis Stevenson is that his full name is Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson. Some of you readers may know that one of my names (oooh, one of my names!) is Balfour, so there is a chance that I may be distantly related to this literary genius.
What a moustache!

There is a story behind my choice of book today. For my sister’s English class, she had to read Kidnapped, and I decided that I would read it with her. I had read it before when I was younger, but I wanted to support her. So I started to read it, and still I’m on Chapter 7. Seven months later, and I’m still on the same chapter!

The cover of the graphic novel version of Kidnapped

Kidnapped is a classic adventure book. There are pirates, Jacobites, sword fights, kidnap (obviously) and an inheritance to win back. When Davie Balfour gets to his uncle’s castle in Shaws after his father’s death, he never expected that he would be kidnapped and commandeered into a pirate ship, left on a desert island, almost arrested as a Jacobite, and finally discovering why his father and uncle quarrelled. The character of Davie Balfour is the classic hero, who always finds a way out just in time, normally with the assistance of his companion and friend Alan Breck, a Jacobite who wants the Stuart dynasty back on the throne. Davie, who is a royalist and loyal to the queen, often fights with Alan about this, but both men respect each other nonetheless.
Alan and Davie hiding from the Red Coats

It is thought that Kidnapped was inspired by the real case of James Annesley, who was heir to five aristocratic titles who was kidnapped at age 12, and taken from Dublin to the USA in 1728. After 13 years, he finally escaped and returned to claim his birth-right. He took his uncle to court, leading to one of the longest court-room dramas of the time.
A map of Davie's route round Scotland

Kidnapped is a fantastic book for little boys who want just pure adventure, with sword-fighting and pistol-flinging galore. Add on some political intrigue, and a treasonous plot, and you have a perfect recipe for the classic ‘boy’s novel’. What else is a classic 'boy's novel', filled with lots of action, and none of that 'yucky romance girly stuff'? Comment below.


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