Set In th Century Scotland, This Brooding Historical Romance Unfolds Amid The Jacobite Rebellion A Struggle Between Good And Evil Begins In The Old Scottish Castle Of Durrisdeer The Ancestral Home Of The Durie Clan Where James Durie, Master Of Ballantrae, Persists In His Lifelong Rivalry With His Younger Brother As Well As His Relentless Quest For The Family FortuneFrom Durrisdeer, The Fast Paced Adventure Shifts To Sea Voyages And Encounters With Pirates, Intrigue At The French Court And In India, And An Attempt To Recover Buried Treasure In New York S Adirondack Mountains All Leading To A Shocking Climax In The American Wilderness An Engrossing Tale Played Out Against The Backdrop Of Three Continents, The Master Of Ballantrae Stands Among The Most Vivid And Exciting Of Robert Louis Stevenson Tales


10 thoughts on “The Master of Ballantrae: A Winter's Tale

  1. says:

    Gosh, I love RLS He was the man Adventure, intrigue, travel, romance, gothic suspensegosh I love RLS He would have made a terrific screenwriter during cinema s golden age, all swash and buckle This ripping yarn just doesn t let you leave You may pretend you re working or gardening or conversing with others during your everyday boring life, but really, you re just thinking about the Brothers Durie Which one is really good and which one is really evil This specific edition is from 1968 perfect year for Sean Connery and Oliver Reed to play the siblings and is large type for those who need extra help If you don t need the extra help for the eyes, it s kinda weird, but perfect really because this baby will knock about your bag and car and bus and will wind up very well thumbed I d like a leather bound edition, just so I can watch it sitting on my shelf RLS Two Duries in DurrisdeerOne to stay and one to ride,An ill day for the groomAnd a worse day for the bride.Book Season Winter snow flurries and sword fights


  2. says:

    I approached my rereading of The Master of Ballantrae with some trepidation It was a book I adored when I was very young, and it s always a risky business revisiting bookish old flames like old flames of any kind I m pleased to report that the novel stood up to revisitation quite triumphantly I have a better knowledge of the literary context now, and I enjoyed picking up on the echoes of James Hogg s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner use of invented documents and memoirs as a narrative means doomed pairing of contrasted brothers theme of destiny vs free will motifs of a night duel and an uncanny exhumation There are also echoes of Stevenson s own Jekyll and Hyde, written three years earlier, to the extent that the two Durie brothers, the devilish, mercurial James and the stolid, brooding Henry can seem unhappily yoked parts of a single, conflicted whole perhaps, in a Scott like way, representative of Scotland s divided identity the novel is set in the aftermath of the 45 uprising, in which James Durie fights and is initially thought lost The plot of the novel is highly melodramatic and exotic, in the spirit of romance In addition to Ballantrae, on the south west coast of Scotland, its settings include a primitive, traders New York, and the wilderness of the Adirondacks, where the dramatic last chapters of the novel take place and where Stevenson first conceived of the novel, in a stay in an experimental tuberculosis sanatorium in 1887 The characters include a highly orientalised Hindu retainer, Secundra Dass, and the novel finds time for a small but perfectly formed Caribbean pirate narrative, told in an inset narrative by the rollicking Irish soldier of fortune Chevalier Francis Burke.All this riot of color is kept expertly under control, throughout most of the novel, by the dry, methodical prose of the chief narrator, the steward Ephraim Mackellar, through whose unreliably partisan eyes we see most of the events of the novel For long stretches, in between the action scenes, the novel is a kind of chamber piece, charting the changing relationships between a tight family knot of characters the brothers, Henry and James the Master of the title their father, the old laird, unwitting cause of their rivalry through his favoritism Allison Graeme, their cousin, who loves James and married Henry and Mackellar himself Although our attention is directed principally towards the depicted characters, the romantic, doomed Durie family, Mackellar himself is pivotal to the effect of the novel Despite the prissy, old maidish elements in his characterization, he is far from lacking in passion, as his fierce devotion to the put upon Henry Durie shows Nor is he quite secure from the Master s demonic seductions, however clearly he sees through his Byronic performances One of the most interesting and destabilizing passages in the novel, set significantly on a ship heading across the Atlantic, sees our trusty narrator half beginning to fall prey, despite himself, to the Master s charms After a long time of being consigned to the dusty dressing up box of the adventure novel, I have a sense that Stevenson is now taken much seriously by literary criticism, as a forerunner of modernism, or post modernism I think that s right although it doesn t stop his novels from being immensely enjoyable on a straight, adventure novel level, as my adolescent self can attest I ve also always loved Stevenson as a stylist I came to this novel after Elizabeth Gaskell s Wives and Daughters, with its placid, leisurely prose, and I found his terseness quite thrilling by contrast Stevenson has the meta narrator figure in his preface the man who publishes the found manuscript of Mackellar refuse to embellish the style, on the grounds that there is nothing so noble as baldness It s typical of Stevenson s sprezzatura to frame a stylistic manifesto in such a nobly bald way.


  3. says:

    Read this many many years ago but I enjoyed Master of Ballantrae so much with this second reading Robert Louis Stevenson could spin an entertaining tale.This novel has something for all readers A sweeping tale of sibling rivalry, adventure, derring do, romance, greed and mystery The story unfolds over many years and takes place in Scotland and the American wilderness.The classic tale of the brothers Durie, narrated through the eyes of their stalwart Steward Ephraim Mackellar Read this as the free edition without issues Thoroughly entertained throughout Time well spent.


  4. says:

    Free download available at eBooks Adelaide.This book is being discussed by the 19th Century Literature Yahoo Group.This is the story of two brothers set during after the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, often referred to as the Forty five , in Scotland, India America An incident in the rebellion of 1746, by David MorierThe narrator of this book is done by Mackellar, the loyal steward to the Durie of Durisdeer family, which consists of an old lord and this two sons James, the Master of Ballantrae, and Henry Another relative, Miss Alison Graeme, also lives with the family.The two brothers have opposite trends James supports Bonnie Prince Charlie and goes and fights for the Jacobites while Henry stays at home to keep favor of King George II In this way, whichever side wins, the family s estate will be preserved.Once the Rising fails, the Master is reported dead and Henry becomes the heir of the estate Living without glory brings no happiness to the surviving brother The End of the Forty Five Rebellion William Brasse Hole s original etching, The End of the Forty Five Rebellion depicts the final chapter of the 1745 Highland Rebellion led by Prince Charles Edward and the retreat of his defeated troops Fatigue, hunger and despair accompany the wounded troops.However, a turmoil in the story will happen once Coronel Francis Burke arrives bringing letters from the Master.In order to avoid spoilers, I will stop my review here.A movie was made based on this book The Master of Ballantrae 1953 , with Errol Flynn, Roger Livesey, Anthony Steel as well as three TV series The Master of Ballantrae 1962 The Master of Ballantrae 1975 and The Master of Ballantrae 1984.For those interested in reading a biography about the author, there are at least two interesting books on this subject Fanny Stevenson A Romance of Destiny 1993 by Alexandra Lapierre and Under the Wide and Starry Sky 2013 by Nancy Horan, see my review here However, it should be noticed that both books are fictionalized biographies For a complete list of RLS s biographies, please visit the author s website.The Battle of Culloden in fiction Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon.The Jacobite Trilogy by D.K Broster.Waverley by Walter Scott.The Scottish Thistle by Cindy Vallar.Culloden by John Prebble.


  5. says:

    Christmas came early this year A whole set of uncut Robert Louis Stevenson books RLS This is better than coffee ice cream, meat pies, and pecan rolls Shazam I have already reviewed the story itself here, so I will use this review for the actual physical book As we increasingly turn to e books in the current century, it is always a pleasure to hold a book which was made when printing presses were considered to be state of the art and most folks couldn t even afford a book, let alone a set.Those Scribner sons did a mighty fine job with this volume Red cloth with gold lettering and the type of paper one doesn t see any This is a well brought up book, the kind you can introduce to others with pride Gorgeous The previous owner s took good care of this baby, and I hope to continue the tradition.Book Season Winter it s a winter s tale


  6. says:

    I just watched the wonderful 50s adaptation of this, starring a debonair but slightly long in the tooth Errol Flynn awesome action awesome Technicolor if the book is half as fun, I need to read it soon so fast paced and full of surprises plus a new favorite character the French pirate, an effete dandy and killer, with a badass scar on his face to provide a nice contrast to his stylish outfits so dreamy and now I m wondering if Black Sails was renewed for a second season I sure hope so.


  7. says:

    11 SEP 2014 lovely cover Background info for the Rising of 45 SEP 2014 Jacob is Esau and Esau is Jacob Interesting play on the Biblical story 15 SEP 2014 this is definitely than a boys adventure tale Except for the difficult for me, at least written brogue, I am enjoying this novel Of course, I already do not like the Master one single bit 16 SEP 2014 today, I discovered the new depths of evil the Master is capable of reaching Argh When will Henry stand up to his brother 16 SEP 2014 Dagny commented that evil is fun I agreed with this comment Agreed, Dagny But the Master is not Susan Lucci evil, he is Hanibal Lecter nasty evil Oh I am putting that in my review 16 SEP 2014 Well It is about damn time Henry has finally stood up to the Master struck him right in the mouth Made me laugh out loud I have a feeling this is not going to end well for either man 17 SEP 2014 Lazarus You know what I am only 4 chapters from the end and I have no idea how I am going to get through this long day of work in order to resume reading after dinner tonight.18 SEP 2014 I enjoyed The Master of Ballantrae tremendously My review is pending I do not want to give away spoilers.


  8. says:

    There are certain corners of the high brow literary establishment perhaps it s the London Review of Books where one is often reminded that R.L Stevenson has a complex reputation a bit than a writer of boys own adventure stories perhaps Jules Verne merits the same treatment and is analogous.In any event, I picked this up on whim when I stumbled into Dumbo s P.S Books, for the slightly silly reason that they didn t have anything I was really looking for but I like the people that work there and wanted to oblige them but not, on that particular occasion, to the tune of than 2.My cheesy early 60s edition has a sort of romance cover illustration manly man wielding sword that looks like a fencing p e in defense of peroxided bouffant woman, but one suspects that feuding Scots brothers in the 1750s and the woman in question didn t look much like that The dark family psychology that dominates the book is rather grim and there s not really much swashbuckling going on but it s ultimately quite gripping At one point the action switches to New York state where people from Albany are confusingly referred to as Albanians which has some historical interest There s also a lot implicit on the Scots side about the conflicts with England of the time which I knew nothing about and still don t some day


  9. says:

    Brotherly love When Bonnie Prince Charlie arrives in Scotland in 1745 to reclaim the lost Stuart crown, the Durie family of Durrisdeer must decide where their loyalties lie If they make the wrong choice, they could lose everything, but pick the winning side and their future is secure The old Laird has two sons Jamie, the eldest, known as the Master of Ballantrae, is attractive and popular but evil, while Henry, the younger, is dull but good The family decides one son should join Charlie s rebellion while the other should declare loyalty to the Hanoverian King George II, a kind of hedging of bets in which many noble families would indulge so says Stevenson, and I have no reason to doubt him By rights, as the younger, Henry should have joined the rising, but the Master thinks this is the exciting option so claims it for himself When the rising fails, word reaches Durrisdeer that Jamie died in battle Henry gains the estate but is vilified by the townspeople for, as rumour has it, betraying his popular brother, while his father and Alison, the woman he is to marry, make no secret that they loved Jamie best and mourn his loss extravagantly So things are bad for Henry but they re going to get worse when news arrives that Jamie didn t die after allI freely admit I thought this was going to be a story about the Jacobite rebellion, but it isn t The enmity between the brothers had begun before long before the rising, and although it is used to set up the conditions for further strife between them, in fact it s a minor strand in the book This is actually a story of two opposing characters and their lifelong struggle against each other It s told by Ephraim Mackellar, steward to the estate of Durrisdeer and loyal supporter of Henry, who was present for many of the main events and has gathered the rest of the story from witnesses and participants It will involve duels, smugglers and plots, love and hate, loyalty and betrayal it will take us aboard a pirate ship and all the way across the Atlantic to the little town of New York in the far away American colonies And it will end with a terrifying journey through the wilds of Native American Indian country on a quest for treasure It would be possible to read this, perhaps, as some kind of allegory for the Scotland of the time, divided in loyalty between the deposed Stuarts and the reigning Hanoverians, but I don t think that can be taken too far since neither brother seems actively to care who wins, nor to be loyal to anything or anybody very much, so long as they come out of it with their lands and position intact The things that divide them are personal, not political There s also a kind of variant on the Jekyll and Hyde theme going on the two brothers opposite in everything, one tediously decent, the other excitingly bad However as we get to know the brothers over the long years covered by the story, we see that the contrasts between them are not as glaring as they first appear The same flaws and weaknesses run through all members of this doomed family not a spoiler we re told they re doomed from the very beginning they just show themselves in different ways Poor Mackellar while his loyalty to Henry never fails him, as time goes on he becomes a solitary and unregarded voice of reason in the middle of their feud, and grows to see that, to coin a phrase, there are faults on both sides.Stevenson always writes adventure brilliantly and there are some great action scenes in the book, many of them with than an edge of creepiness and horror But there s much to this one than simply that The characterisation is the important thing, of the brothers certainly as the central figures in this drama, but equally of the other players the old Laird, Alison and not least, Mackellar himself Stevenson does an excellent job of showing how the various experiences they undergo change each of them some becoming stronger, better people, others giving way to weakness and cruelty I admit none of them are particularly likeable, though despite myself I developed a soft spot for poor, pompous, self righteous Mackellar he had a lot to contend with, poor man , but they re so well drawn that I was fully invested in their fates anyway Each of the settings is done brilliantly, from the life of a middle ranking Laird of this period to the growing settlements in the New World The pirate episode is especially good, as is the later voyage to America Stevenson always seems to excel once he gets his characters out on the ocean wave There are dark deeds a plenty and not a little gore, but there s also occasional humour to give a bit of light amidst the bleakness There s a lot of foreshadowing of doom, and a couple of times Mackellar tells us in advance what s going to happen, but nevertheless the story held my interest throughout and the ending still managed to surprise and shock me Though the adventure side means it could easily be enjoyed by older children, it seems to me this has rather adult themes than Treasure Island or Kidnapped, in the sense that the good and evil debate is muddier and complex, and rooted in the development of the characters rather than in the events again, the comparison to Jekyll and Hyde would be closer Oh, and there s very little Scottish dialect in it, so perfectly accessible to non Scots readers Another excellent one from Stevenson s hugely talented pen, fully deserving of its status as a classic, and highly recommended www.fictionfanblog.wordpress.com