Our rating: ****

After the death of his father, sixteen-year-old David Balfour is preparing to leave the village he grew up in and seek his fortune. As he is leaving, an old friend of the family gives him a sealed letter, written by David’s father, with the instructions to take it to the House of Shaws. David wonders at this, because the Shaws are a wealthy family. Could he be related to them? When he reaches the tumbledown manor house he discovers that the man living there is his uncle. Despite his uncle’s apparent unwillingness to welcome him, David stays a couple of days and stumbles across a mystery. He had always supposed his father to be the younger of the two brothers, but circumstances point to his being the elder, and therefore rightful heir to the estate. When David presses his uncle for the truth in the matter, the cantankerous old man avoids the question, promising to tell David the truth the next day. During the night the uncle tries to kill David, who luckily survives, to the great surprise of his uncle. In one last, desperate attempt to conceal the truth, David’s uncle has him kidnapped and sent away to the Carolinas to be sold as a slave. However, during the early stages of the sea voyage, David falls into the company of a Scottish Rebel called Alan Breck, who helps him escape. Together they make their way through Scotland—Alan set upon his work for the King of France, (much to David’s dismay) and David seeking to return to the House of Shaws and discover the truth.

Great, great story. I enjoyed every page of it. It’s set in Scotland, in 1751, and it’s chock full of adventure. All of the things David goes through, running with Alan, ha ha! David is for King George of England and Alan is for the King of France and Scotland. Much to David’s chagrin, he ends up having to help Alan in his resistance work and gets pinned as a rebel for his pains!

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