I haven’t read Kidnapped since I was a child, and evidently I mixed it up with other Stevenson books – perhaps Treasure Island – expecting pirates. While there’s a good piece on board a ship, the bulk of the story is set in the Scottish highlands and the long-standing aggravations of the clans there.
While substantially surprised by the story’s turn, I also found – as one would expect from a children’s classic – the prose to be fluid and accessible, the characters engaging. There’s a good bit that doesn’t bear close examination, and our hero is remarkably self-possessed and well-spoken for a young man, but the story moves on smoothly and rapidly. Only at the end does it fall into something of a muddle – evidently Stevenson enjoyed the journey more than the destination.The book ends with the clear indication of a sequel, though until now I’d never heard of the book that follows – Catriona – which promises to be more mercantile and political than this first, better known book. Overall, a quick, pleasant return to the adventures of childhood.