Everyman's Library, Hardcover, 9780679436386, 340pp.
Publication Date: September 27, 1994
Seventeen-year-old David Balfour's villainous uncle has him kidnapped in order to steal his inheritance. David escapes only to fall into the dangerous company of rebels who are resisting British redcoats in the Scottish highlands.
All his life Stevenson traveled often in a desperate quest for health. He and Fanny, having married in California and spent their honeymoon by an abandoned silver mine, traveled back to Scotland, then to Switzerland, to the South of France, to the American Adirondacks, and finally to the south of France, to the South Seas. As a novelist he was intrigued with the genius of place: Treasure Island (1883) began as a map to amuse a boy. Indeed, all his works reveal a profound sense of landscape and atmosphere: Kidnapped (1886); The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886); The Master of Ballantrae (1889).
In 1889 Stevenson s deteriorating health exiled him to the tropics, and he settled in Samoa, where he was given patriarchal status by the natives. His health improved, yet he remained homesick for Scotland, and it was to the cold old huddle of grey hills of the Lowlands that he returned in his last, unfinished masterpiece, Weir of Hermiston (1896).
Stevenson dies suddenly on December 3, 1894, not of the long-feared tuberculosis, but of a cerebral hemorrhage. The kindly author of Jekyll and Hyde went down to the cellar to fetch a bottle of his favorite burgundy, uncorked it in the kitchen, abruptly cried out to his wife, What s the matter with me, what is this strangeness, has my face changed? and fell to the floor. The brilliant storyteller and master of transformations had been struck down at forty-four, at the height of his creative powers."