Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
Narrator: Keiron Elliott
Why did I read it? Scotland has long held my interest, and I thought that since I had not read many of its authors, I ought to dive in, and, having listened to the BBC Radio Scotland, Scotland Outdoors podcast where they followed the route David Balfour takes in the book, I was keen to start with this, once of Scotland’s most famous novels.
What’s it about? Upon the death of his father, David Balfour is given a letter of introduction to Ebenezer Balfour, of Shaws House in Cramond. The welcome he receives from that man runs hot, and cold in turns. Mr Balfour proposes a visit to a lawyer, having been foiled in an attempt to cause David’s death by sending him up a tower without light. The next day a young cabin boy arrives, Ransome, and he guides them to a ship, where David is coaxed on board, before being knocked out, and so the adventures begin.
What did I like? This is a “boy’s own adventure” style story, and it did keep me wondering at how it would be resolved. I liked the mixture of fact with fiction, and the characters were very well drawn. There is a romantic taint to the tale, which refrained from being overly sentimental however.
Mr Kieron Elliott gave an excellent performance as narrator with his Scottish accent. I chose this edition over other audio formats, based on samples of voices, and I’m glad I chose this version. It was a lively narration, clear, even with the Scottish dialect. In fact, the audio production was good overall, with only one or two changes in tone, voice, and quality to mar the presentation.
What didn’t I like? It was a slow start. I struggled to hold on through those first few chapters, but I’m glad I did. The language, being a little old fashioned, took some getting used to – and I am used to the language of Jane Austen. Eventually I was able to follow the rhythm, if not the Latin.
Would I recommend it? Yes. Absolutely. I think pre-teen boy readers might enjoy the tale far more than I. That said, I am going to delve into the sequel, Catriona, if I can find a narrator such as Kieron Elliott. This edition of Kidnapped was purchased from Audible, and was published by Recorded Books.