Stevenson's brooding historical romance demonstrates his most abiding theme, the elemental struggle between good and evil, as it unfolds against a hauntingly beautiful Scottish landscape, amid the fierce loyalties and violent enmities that characterized Scottish history.
When two brothers attempt to split their loyalties between the warring factions of the 1745 Jacobite rising, one family finds itself tragically divided. Stevenson's remarkably vivid characterizations create an acutely moving, psychologically complex work wherein the brothers' characters, not the historical facts, shape the drama.
The Master of Ballantrae opens in the old Scottish house of Durrisdeer, ancestral home of the Duries, a family divided by the Jacobite rising of 1745. Its adventure draws in seas voyages, piracy, buried treasure, magic and nightmare, and centers on the fatal rivalry between two brothers, James and Henry, and the wealthy and beautiful kinswoman who loves one brother but marries the other.