The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson – The Classics Club

The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson was first published in 1888 and it’s one of the books on my Classics Club list. It’s set during the Wars of the Roses in the time of King Henry VI and as you would expect it’s a combination of adventure and romance. Sadly it didn’t come up to the standards of Treasure Island, Kidnapped or even its sequel Catriona.

Dick Shelton’s father was murdered when Dick was younger and now that he is grown up Dick wants to get justice for his father. Unfortunately Dick’s guardian is Sir Daniel, he’s a rogue although supposedly a gentleman. Sir Daniel buys up guardianships so that he can plunder their money before they reach maturity. He has kidnapped Joanna Sedley from her legal guardian, intending to marry her off to Dick.

Meanwhile Dick is beginning to think that Sir Daniel and his cronies are actually responsible for his father’s death and Joanna is sure of it, she persuades Dick to team up with The Black Arrow outlaws against Sir Daniel.

I really disliked the style of writing that Stevenson employed in this book, a sort of archaic English which Stevenson himself called ‘tushery’. I suppose that he thought it would help with the historical atmosphere, but it really doesn’t.

There is quite a lot of fighting and killing, as you would expect in a book which features battles and spies and a 15th century setting. I read this one for The Classics Club and I downloaded it from Project Gutenberg as my copy of the book dates from 1908 and has teeny weeny print.

7 thoughts on “The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson – The Classics Club

    • tracybham,
      I think it’s best to start with those ones, although someone has recently said that they loved The Master of Ballantrae, which I intend to get around to sometime.

  1. I am not sure I have done more than skim any Robert Louis Stevenson. Kidnapped is probably the one I would choose. I can see that you had to persevere to reach Catriona!

    • Constance,
      I bought a lovely copy of Catriona when I was just about 12 years old, I hadn’t realised that he had written a sequel to Kidnapped so was chuffed to see its title was my name, albeit with the Gaelic spelling!

  2. Ha, the second review I’ve read of this one tonight – what are the chances of that! I’m sorry it didn’t work for you, especially since it’s on my Classics Club list so I’ll be reading it at some point. I’m not too keen on mock Ye Olde English, so I may struggle with that aspect too. Did I see you comment on the other review that you’re thinking of reading The Master of Ballantrae next? I loved that one…

    • FictionFan,
      Yes, I think it was you mentioning that you loved The Master of Ballantrae which made me put it on my new list, so I have high hopes of it!

  3. Pingback: Classic Author Focus: Robert Louis Stevenson – The Classics Club

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