The Master of Ballantrae

(Great Characters in Literature)

Characters Discussed

James Durie

James Durie, the master of Ballantrae. Reported dead after the Battle of Culloden, he escapes to America, then goes to France, where he makes heavy financial demands on his brother Henry, now the heir to Durrisdeer, over a period of seven years. As Mr. Bally, James returns to Scotland, where he and Henry fight a duel. James apparently is killed, though his body disappears. Severely wounded, he is rescued by smugglers and taken to India, where he makes a fortune and acquires a native servant, Secundra Dass. When James again returns to Durrisdeer, Henry and his family flee to New York but are followed by James. In America, Henry decides to get rid of his evil brother permanently, but Secundra Dass overhears plans for James’s murder and shortly thereafter reports that his master has died. Henry, determined to satisfy himself that James is really dead, comes upon his brother’s grave just as Secundra Dass is exhuming James, who has not died but has been placed in a state of suspended animation by Secundra Dass as a means of tricking Henry. When Henry sees his brother’s eyes flutter open after a week underground, he drops dead of shock. Despite many hours of strenuous effort, Secundra Dass is unable to revive James fully because of the cold temperature; at last, the brothers, deadly enemies, are buried in the same grave.

Henry Durie

Henry Durie, James’s younger...

(The entire section is 493 words.)

Literary Techniques

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

As he often does, Stevenson depends on the naive narrator for his plot development. Ephraim Mackellar, of course, knows only what he sees and...

(The entire section is 211 words.)

Ideas for Group Discussions

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Since the principal setting of the novel is Scotland during rebellious, violent times, it might be helpful to study a bit of the history of...

(The entire section is 315 words.)

Literary Precedents

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The phenomenon of brotherly antagonism is as old as the biblical Cain and Abel story. Also, the history of Scotland is rife with tales of...

(The entire section is 154 words.)


(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The film adaptation of The Master of Ballantrae utilized to the fullest the swashbuckling talents of Errol Flynn, who appeared as the...

(The entire section is 50 words.)