Set at the time of the Jacobite uprising, The Master of Ballantrae tells of a family divided. James Durie, Master of Ballantrae, abandons his ancestral home to support the Scottish rebellion - leaving his younger brother Henry, who is faithful to the English crown, to inherit the title of Lord Durrisdeer. But he is to return years later, embittered by battles and a savage life of piracy on the high seas, to demand his inheritance. Turning the people against the Lord, he begins a savage feud with his brother that will lead the pair from the Scottish Highlands to the American Wilderness. Satanic and seductive, the Master was regarded by Stevenson as 'all I know of the devil'; his darkly manipulative schemes dominate this subtle and compelling tragedy.
This edition takes as its text the Edinburgh Edition of the novel, the last approved by the author. The introduction considers the novel's inspiration and its place as one of Stevenson's greatest studies in cruelty.