The Black Arrow

by Robert Louis Stevenson
195 pages, Historical Fiction
Reviewed by Nienna

Interesting, but has poor morals.


Richard Shelton (better known as Dick) discovers that his benevolent guardian is also his father's murderer, and he now desires revenge. The story is about him trying to take back his inheritance and rescue the girl he loves from Sir Daniel (his former guardian). It is set against the backdrop of the War of the Roses.


There are a few characters who are completely bad and are shown as such,but there are other characters who are the "good guys". Yet their whole focus is revenge, so they murder some people and steal from others. Richard deceives some people so that he can steal their ship and seems to be confused on such matters as loyalty and truth. He does choose not to kill Sir Daniel (despite that person's many wicked deeds), but at other times he kills people because they seem to be a danger to him. Once it is called into question whether this is right or not, but they are distracted and turn to other matters. The main character does repent of some of the things he has done, when he realizes that it can not be remedied.

Spiritual Content

There is a priest who is on the bad side though he wants to do good. However, that seems to have little to do with God.


There are a lot of killings, beatings, and death.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Wine and such are drunk frequently, sometimes to an excess. Richard gets some men drunk so that he can escape from them.

Sexual Content

A girl is convinced to dress as a man, which she believes is a sin. A young lady tries to get Richard to kiss her and marry her. Richard kisses his fiancee.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

God's name is used incorrectly a few times.


While this tale is interesting and makes a few good points, the careless killing, poorly written romance and poor ideals made me dislike it excessively. However, it is very interesting, particularly because of the older English used, so if you don't mind betrayal, violence, and lack of morals, it could be a very enjoyable read.

Fun Score: 4
Values Score: 2
Written for Age: 13+

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