Does anyone remember Robert Louis Stevenson’s wonderful adventure novel, Kidnapped? It was published in 1886 as a ‘boys novel’. Well, I don’t know about that. I loved it. While my school friends were engrossed in the more gentile exploits of Anne of Green Gables, or up in the heady air of the Swiss mountains with Heidi, I was striding across the Scottish Highlands in the company of the dashing Alan Breck Stewart. I still have a copy of the novel on my bookshelf, I still read it, and I still enjoy it. Kidnapped was the first book I ever put aside with a sigh, wishing that I’d written it myself. The reason I’m mentioning all this is because Stevenson, one of Scotland’s most celebrated authors, is being remembered in his home city of Edinburgh with a new statue in his honour. (above) The bronze statue, by Midlothian-based sculpture, Allan Herriot, was commissioned by the Colinton Community Conservation Trust, to celebrate the author’s connections with Colinton.
The bronze statue, of Stevenson as a boy with his dog, was recently unveiled by another of my writing heroes, Ian Rankin, who points out that although this is the first statue of RLS in Edinburgh, there is a beautiful bronze relief of him in St Giles Cathedral and a sculpture depicting the Kidnapped novel on the city’s Corstorphine Road. The tale is set in eighteenth century Scotland in the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden. Many of the characters portrayed were real people whose stories give different viewpoints into the political situation at the time. For those of you who have never read the book, Kidnapped is the story of David Balfour, who, after being tricked out of his inheritance by his wicked Uncle Ebenezer, escapes his captors and links up with Alan Breck Stewart. His journey across the wild Highlands, in the company of Alan and other notorious Highland Jacobites, sets the background for the adventure. This edition of the book on Amazon includes a foreword by Stevenson’s wife, who gives a telling insight into to how it all came about. Kidnapped is still a fabulous read. I do hope you’ll try it. Rx
PS: My blog’s had a bit of a facelift. Hope you all like the new look.