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Master of Ballantrae   By: (1850-1894)

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Master of Ballantrae by Robert Louis Stevenson is a captivating tale of sibling rivalry, adventure, and intrigue set against the backdrop of 18th-century Scotland.

The story follows the Durie brothers, James and Henry, who couldn't be more different from one another. James, the titular Master of Ballantrae, is charismatic, cunning, and skilled in the art of manipulation. In contrast, Henry is portrayed as honorable, generous, and naive. As their personalities clash, a fierce rivalry is born that permeates every aspect of their lives and drives the narrative forward.

Stevenson's novel showcases his exceptional storytelling abilities, with vivid descriptions that transport readers to the rugged landscapes of Scotland. The author's attention to detail is commendable, painting a picture of a tumultuous period in Scottish history that adds depth and authenticity to the narrative.

The characters in Master of Ballantrae are intricately crafted, with James serving as the quintessential antihero. His complexity and constant pursuit of power make him a fascinating and magnetic character. Henry, on the other hand, provides a welcome contrast as the moral compass of the story. Their contrasting personalities create a dynamic and suspenseful narrative that keeps readers engaged until the very end.

One of the book's strengths lies in its exploration of themes such as loyalty, greed, and the destructive power of pride. As James and Henry navigate treacherous paths and face numerous challenges, their characters are tested, revealing the depths of their flaws and virtues.

While the pacing of the novel can be slow at times, it ultimately serves to build anticipation and tension, which adds to the overall atmosphere of the story. Stevenson's writing style is elegant and descriptive, showcasing his mastery of the English language.

Master of Ballantrae is a timeless tale that offers a unique blend of adventure, historical fiction, and psychological drama. It is a testament to Stevenson's genius as a writer, highlighting his ability to transport readers to a bygone era while exploring universal themes that resonate with audiences even today.

First Page:

The Master of Ballantrae by Robert Louis Stevenson Scanned and proofed by David Price

The Master of Ballantrae A Winter's Tale

To Sir Percy Florence and Lady Shelley

Here is a tale which extends over many years and travels into many countries. By a peculiar fitness of circumstance the writer began, continued it, and concluded it among distant and diverse scenes. Above all, he was much upon the sea. The character and fortune of the fraternal enemies, the hall and shrubbery of Durrisdeer, the problem of Mackellar's homespun and how to shape it for superior flights; these were his company on deck in many star reflecting harbours, ran often in his mind at sea to the tune of slatting canvas, and were dismissed (something of the suddenest) on the approach of squalls. It is my hope that these surroundings of its manufacture may to some degree find favour for my story with seafarers and sea lovers like yourselves.

And at least here is a dedication from a great way off: written by the loud shores of a subtropical island near upon ten thousand miles from Boscombe Chine and Manor: scenes which rise before me as I write, along with the faces and voices of my friends.

Well, I am for the sea once more; no doubt Sir Percy also. Let us make the signal B... Continue reading book >>

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