Wednesday, February 19, 2014

On the Coffee Table: Kidnapped

Title: Kidnapped
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
via Wikipedia
And so, my initially unplanned tour of Robert Louis Stevenson's Big 3 novels comes to an end.  After reading Jeckyll and Hyde in August (reflection here) and Treasure Island in December (here), rounding out the trio with Kidnapped seemed only natural.  Of the three, Kidnapped was the one I knew the least about beforehand.  Now, I'd have to say it's the one I like best.

The story was not quite what I expected.  After Treasure Island, I anticipated more pirates and seafaring adventures.  While there's some of that, Kidnapped is more a grand tour of the author's native Scotland.  Upon the occasion of his father's passing, young David Balfour is sent off with a letter of introduction to meet an uncle he never knew he had.  Said uncle is a crazy recluse who first tries to kill David but then has him, you guessed it, kidnapped by shady sailor types.  The boat shipwrecks but not before David befriends Alan Breck Stewart, a real-life Scottish Jacobite.  Most of the rest of the story follows the two on the lam from a bum murder rap.  It's the sort of story that would be torn apart by modern critics for its zig-zag narrative but it's a lot of fun.

Like the other two RLS novels I've read, Kidnapped is thick with details, particularly in setting - the author's wheelhouse.  I found it more enjoyable than the other two as suspense is better maintained throughout.  My own lack of foreknowledge may have helped.  After all, Jeckyll and Hyde would undoubtedly be more suspenseful if one didn't already know the plot twist. 

I think I've had enough of RLS for a while but I'm glad to have read the greatest hits.

10 comments:

  1. Delightful photo. Bound in tattered red buckam are some of the world finest stories.

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    1. It is a nice shot - wish I could claim it were mine but it's Wikipedia's.

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  2. Kidnapped was definitely my favorite as a teenager, although I think I may prefer Jekyll & Hyde, now.

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    1. I wish it were possible to experience J&H without knowing the twist. I still think I'd have preferred Kidnapped. Characters are better developed than they are in the other two books.

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  3. I totally need to read that one. My goodness, why can't the world revolve around my reading? ;)

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  4. I too thought Kidnapped would be more like Treasure Island. I have not read this book but after your review I might give it a chance.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. I hope you will. Please let me know what you think.

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  5. I should spend more time reading the old masters, but lately its all been the new stuff. Loved the review, may have to pick it up - as soon as I'm done writing book three. Still debating Friday's review... so much to do and so little time!

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