The Black Arrow: A Tale of the Two Roses

The Black Arrow: A Tale of the Two Roses

Audio CD(Unabridged)

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The Black Arrow: A Tale of the Two Roses both an historical adventure novel and a romance novel, set during the Wars of the Roses (1453-1487), a series of civil wars between the houses of Lancaster and York fighting for the English throne.

Richard Shelton (Dick) lives as Sir Daniel Brackley's ward at Tunstall Moat House.
A group of outlaws known as “The Black Arrow”, strike, killing Nicholas Appleyard.
They leave a message warning that they will also kill Brackley, and his men and implying that Dick's father, Harry Shelton, died under suspicious circumstances.
Dick, who doesn't know how his father died, wonders if Brackley was responsible.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455128280
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date: 03/01/2012
Edition description: Unabridged
Pages: 6
Product dimensions: 6.70(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

About The Author
Scottish novelist Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson (1850 -1894) was a literary celebrity with his most famous works including Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Date of Birth:

November 13, 1850

Date of Death:

December 3, 1894

Place of Birth:

Edinburgh, Scotland

Place of Death:

Vailima, Samoa


Edinburgh University, 1875

Read an Excerpt

The Black Arrow

By Stevenson, Robert Louis

Tor Classics

Copyright © 1998 Stevenson, Robert Louis
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780812565621

Book One
Chapter I
At the Sign of the Sun in Kettley
Sir daniel and his men lay in and about Kettley that night, warmly quartered and well patrolled.
But the Knight of Tunstall was one who never rested from money-getting; and even now, when he was on the brink of an adventure which should make or mar him, he was up an hour after midnight to squeeze poor neighbours. He was one who trafficked greatly in disputed inheritances; it was his way to buy out the most unlikely claimant, and then, by the favour he curried with great lords about the king, procure unjust decisions in his favour; or, if that was too roundabout, to seize the disputed manor by force of arms, and rely on his influence and Sir Oliver's cunning in the law to hold what he had snatched. Kettley was one such place; it had come very lately into his clutches; he still met with opposition from the tenants; and it was to overawe discontent that he had led his troops that way.
By two in the morning, Sir Daniel sat in the inn room, close by the fire-side, for it was cold at that hour among the fens of Kettley. By his elbow stood a pottle of spiced ale. He had taken off his visored headpiece, and sat with his bald head and thin, dark visage resting on one hand, wrapped warmly in a sanguine-coloured cloak. At the lower end of the room about a dozenof his men stood sentry over the door or lay asleep on benches; and, somewhat nearer hand, a young lad, apparently of twelve or thirteen, was stretched in a mantle on the floor. The host of the Sun stood before the great man.
"Now, mark me, mine host," Sir Daniel said, "follow but mine orders, and I shall be your good lord ever. I must have good men for head boroughs, and I will have Adam-a-More high constable; see to it narrowly, if other men be chosen, it shall avail you nothing; rather it shall be found to your sore cost. For those that have paid rent to Walsingham I shall take good measure--you among the rest, mine host."
"Good knight," said the host, "I will swear upon the cross of Holywood I did but pay to Walsingham under compulsion. Nay, bully knight, I love not the rogue Walsinghams; they were as poor as thieves, bully knight. Give me a great lord like you. Nay; ask me among the neighbours, I am stout for Brackley."
"It may be," said Sir Daniel, drily. "Ye shall men pay twice."
The innkeeper made a horrid grimace; but this was a piece of bad luck that might readily befall a tenant in these unruly times, and he was perhaps glad to make his peace so easily.
"Bring up yon fellow, Selden!" cried the knight. And one of his retainers led up a poor, cringing old man, as pale as a candle, and all shaking with the fen fever. "Sirrah," said Sir Daniel, "your name?"
"An't please your worship," replied the man, "my name is Condall--Condall of Shoreby, at your good worship's pleasure."
"I have heard you ill reported on," returned the knight. "Ye deal in treason, rogue; ye trudge the country leasing; ye are heavily suspicioned of the death of severals. How, fellow, are ye so bold? But I will bring you down."
"Right honourable and my reverend lord," the man cried, "here is some hodge-podge, saving your good presence. I am bat a poor private man, and have hurt none."
"The under-sheriff did report of you most vilely," said the knight " 'Seize me,' saith he, 'that Tyndal of Shore-by.'"
"Condall, my good lord; Condall is my poor name," said the unfortunate.
"Condall or Tyndal, it is all one," replied Sir Daniel, coolly. "For, by my sooth, y' are here, and I do mightily suspect your honesty. If you would save your neck, write me swiftly an obligation for twenty pound."
"For twenty pound, my good lord!" cried Condall. "Here is midsummer madness! My whole estate amounteth not to seventy shillings."
"Condall or Tyndal," returned Sir Daniel, grinning, "I will run my peril of that loss. Write me down twenty, and when I have recovered all I may, I will be good lord to you, and pardon you the rest."
"Alas! my good lord, it may not be; I have no skill to write," said Condall.
"Well-a-day!" returned the knight "Here, then, is no remedy. Yet I would fain have spared you, Tyndal, had my conscience suffered. Selden, take me this old shrew softly to the nearest elm, and hang me him tenderly by the neck, where I may see him at my riding. Fare ye well, good Master Condall, dear Master Tyndal; y' are post-haste for Paradise; fare ye then well!"
"Nay, my right pleasant lord," replied Condall, forcing an obsequious smile, "an ye be so masterful, as doth right well become you, I will even, with all my poor skill, do your bidding."
"Friend," quoth Sir Daniel, "ye will now write two score. Go to! y' are too cunning for a livelihood of seventy shillings. Selden, see him write me this in good form, and have it duly witnessed." And Sir Daniel, who was a very merry knight, none merrier in England, took a drink of his mulled ale, and lay back smiling.
Meanwhile, the boy upon the floor began to stir, and presently sat up and looked about him with a scare.
"Hither," said Sir Daniel; and as the other rose at his command and came slowly towards him, he leaned back and laughed outright "By the rood!" he cried, "a sturdy boy!"
The lad flushed crimson with anger, and darted a look of hate out of his dark eyes. Now mat he was on his legs, it was more difficult to make certain of his age. His face looked somewhat older in expression, but it was as smooth as a young child's; and in bone and body he was unusually slender, and somewhat awkward of gait.
"Ye have called me, Sir Daniel," he said. "Was it to laugh at my poor plight?"
"Nay, now, let laugh," said the knight. "Good shrew, let laugh, I pray you. An ye could see yourself, I warrant ye would laugh the first."
"Well," cried the lad, flushing, "ye shall answer this when ye answer for the other. Laugh while yet ye may!"
"Nay, now good cousin," replied Sir Daniel, with some earnestness, "think not that I mock at you, except in mirth, as between kinsfolk and singular friends. I will make you a marriage of a thousand pounds, go to! and cherish you exceedingly. I took you, indeed, roughly, as the time demanded; but from henceforth I shall ungrudgingly maintain and cheerfully serve you. Ye shall be Mrs. Shelton--Lady Shelton, by my troth! for the lad promiseth bravely. Tut! ye will not shy for honest laughter; it purgeth melancholy. They ate no rogues who laugh, good cousin. Good mine host, lay me a meal now for my cousin, Master John. Sit ye down, sweetheart, and eat"
"Nay," said Master John, "I will break no bread. Since ye force me to this sin, I win fast for my soul's interest. But, good mine host, I pray you of courtesy give me a cup of fair water; I shall be much beholden to your courtesy indeed."
"Ye shall have a dispensation, go to!" cried the knight. "Shalt be well shriven, by my faith? Content you, then, and eat."
But the lad was obstinate, drank a cup of water, and, once more wrapping himself closely in his mantle, sat in a far corner, brooding.
In an hour or two there rose a stir in the village of sentries challenging and the clatter of arms and horses; and then a troop drew up by the inn door, and Richard Shelton, splashed with mud, presented himself upon the threshold.
"Save you, Sir Daniel," he said.
"How! Dickie Shelton!" cried the knight; and at the mention of Dick's name the other lad looked curiously across. "What maketh Bennet Hatch?"
"Please you, sir knight, to take cognisance of this packet from Sir Oliver, wherein are all things fully stated," answered Richard, presenting the priest's letter. "And please you farther, ye were best make all speed to Risingham; for on the way hither we encountered one riding furiously with letters, and by his report, my Lord of Risingham was sore bested, and lacked exceedingly your presence."
"How say you? Sore bested?" returned the knight. "Nay, then, we will make speed sitting down, good Richard. As the world goes in this poor realm of England, he that rides softliest rides surest. Delay, they say, begetteth peril; but it is rather this itch of doing that undoes men; mark it, Dick. But let me see, first, what cattle ye have brought. Selden, a link here at the door!"
And Sir Daniel strode forth into the village street, and, by the red glow of a torch, inspected his new troops. He was an unpopular neighbour and an unpopular master; but as a leader of war he was welt beloved by those who rode behind his pennant. His dash, his proved courage, his forethought for the soldiers' comfort, even his rough gibes, were all to the taste of the bold blades in jack and salet.
"Nay, by die rood!" he cried, "what poor dogs are these? Here be some as crooked as a bow, and some as lean as a spear. Friends, ye shall ride in the front of the battle; I can spare you, friends. Mark me this old villain on the piebald! A two-year mutton riding on a hog would look more soldierly! Ha! Clipsby, are ye there, old rat? Y' are a man I could lose with a good heart; ye shall go in front of all, with a bull's-eye painted on your jack, to be the better butt for archery; sirrah, ye shall show me the way."
"I will show you any way, Sir Daniel, but the way to change sides," returned Clipsby, sturdily.
Sir Daniel laughed a guffaw.
"Why, well said," he cried. "Hast a shrewd tongue in thy mouth, go to! I will forgive you for that merry word. Selden, see them fed, both man and brute."
The knight re-entered the inn.
"Now, friend Dick," he said, "fall to. Here is good ale and bacon. Eat, while mat I read."
Sir Daniel opened the packet, and as he read his brow darkened. When he had done he sat a little, musing. Then he looked sharply at his ward.
"Dick," said he, "y' have seen this penny rhyme?"
The lad replied in the affirmative.
"It bears your father's name," continued the knight; "and our poor shrew of a parson is, by some mad soul, accused of slaying him."
"He did most eagerly deny it," answered Dick.
"He did?" cried the knight, very sharply. "Heed him not. He has a loose tongue; he babbles like a jack-sparrow. Some day, when I may find the leisure, Dick, I will myself more fully inform you of these matters. There was one Duckworth shrewdly blamed for it; but the times were troubled, and there was no justice to be got"
"It befell at the Moat House?" Dick ventured, with a beating at his heart.
"It befell between me Moat House and Holywood," replied Sir Daniel, calmly; but he shot a covert glance, black with suspicion, at Dick's face. "And now," added the knight, "speed you with your meal; ye shall return to Tunstall with a line from me."
"Dick's face fell sorely.
"Prithee, Sir Daniel," he cried, "send one of the villains! I beseech you let me to the battle. I can strike a stroke, I promise you."
"I misdoubt it not," replied Sir Daniel, sitting down to write. "But here, Dick, is no honour to be won. I lie in Kettley till I have sure tidings of the war, and then ride to join me with the conqueror. Cry not on cowardice; it is but wisdom, Dick; for this poor realm so tosseth with rebellion, and the king's name and custody so changeth hands, that no man may be certain of the morrow. Toss-pot and Shuttlewit run in, but my Lord Good-Counsel sits o' one side, waiting."
With that, Sir Daniel, turning his back to Dick, and quite at die farther end of the long table, began to write his letter, with his mouth on one side, for this business of the Black Arrow stuck sorely in his throat.
Meanwhile, young Shelton was going on heartily enough with his breakfast, when he felt a touch upon his arm, and a very soft voice whispering in his ear.
"Make not a sign, I do beseech you," said the voice, "but of your charity teach me the straight way to Holy-wood. Beseech you, now, good boy, comfort a poor soul in peril and extreme distress, and set me so far forth upon the way to my repose."
"Take the path by the windmill," answered Dick, in the same tone; "it will bring you to Till Ferry; there; inquire again."
And without turning his head, he fell again to eating. But with the tail of his eye he caught a glimpse of the young lad called Master John stealthily creeping from the room.
"Why," thought Dick, "he is as young as I. 'Good boy' doth he call me? An I had known, I should have seen the varlet hanged ere I had told him. Well, if he goes through the fen, I may come up with him and pull his ears."
Half an hour later, Sir Daniel gave Dick the letter, and bade him speed to the Moat House. And again, some half an hour after Dick's departure, a messenger came, in hot haste, from my Lord Risingham.
"Sir Daniel," the messenger said, "ye Jose great honour, by my sooth! The fight began again this morning ere the dawn, and we have beaten their van and scattered their right wing. Only the main battle standeth fast. An we had your fresh men, we should tilt them all into the river. What, sir knight! Will ye be the last? It stands not with your good credit."
"Nay," cried the knight, "I was but now upon the march. Selden, sound me the tucket. Sir, I am with you on the instant. It is not two hours since the more part of my command came in, sir messenger. What would ye have? Spurring is good meat; but yet it killed the charger. Bustle, boys!"
By this time the tucket was sounding cheerily in the morning, and from all sides Sir Daniel's men poured into the main street and formed before the inn. They had slept upon their arms, with chargers saddled, and in ten minutes five-score men-at-arms and archers, cleanly equipped and briskly disciplined, stood ranked and ready. The chief part were in Sir Daniel's livery, murrey and blue, which gave the greater show to their array. The best armed rode first; and away out of sight, at the tail of the column, came the sorry reinforcement of the night before. Sir Daniel looked with pride along the line.
"Here be die lads to serve you in a pinch," he said.
"They are pretty men, indeed," replied the messenger. "It but augments my sorrow mat ye had not marched the earlier."
"Well," said the knight, "what would ye? The beginning of a feast and the end of a fray, sir messenger;" and he mounted into his saddle. "Why! how now!" he cried. "John! Joanna! Nay, by the sacred rood! where is she? Host, where is that girl?"
"Girl, Sir Daniel?" cried the landlord. "Nay, sir, I saw no girl."
"Boy, then, dotard!" cried the knight. "Could ye not see it was a wench? She in the murrey-coloured mantle--she that broke her fast with water, rogue--where is she?"
"Nay, the saints bless us! Master John, ye called him," said the host. "Well, I thought none evil. He is gone. I saw him--her--I saw her in the stable a good hour agone; 'a was saddling a grey horse."
"Now, by the rood!" cried Sir Daniel, "the wench was worth five hundred pound to me and more."
"Sir knight," observed the messenger, with bitterness, "while that ye are here, roaring for five hundred pounds, the realm of England is elsewhere being lost and won."
"It is well said," replied Sir Daniel. "Selden, fall me out with six cross-bowmen; hunt me her down. I care not what it cost; but at my returning, let me find her at the Moat House. Be it upon your head. And now, sir messenger, we march."
And the troop broke into a good trot, and Selden and his six men were left behind upon the street of Kettley, with the staring villagers.
All new material is copyright 1998 by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.


Excerpted from The Black Arrow by Stevenson, Robert Louis Copyright © 1998 by Stevenson, Robert Louis. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The black arrow: a tale of the two roses 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 86 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great read! A wonderful adventure story. Fans of "Treasure Island" will certainly love this book. Also, I read this on my nook and contrary to what other reviewers had to say, I had no problem with the format. Reviewers, please do not comment solely on the format without thinking of the quality of the story. Many readers rely on reviews and would miss out on a great story because of reviews from people who did not end up reading the book. If there is a problem with the format take it up with your provider, don't give a good book and bad name!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Before I read The Black Arrow, the only Stevenson stories that I had read were Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jeykll and Mr. Hyde. When I read this story, I found a Stevenson story that pulled me into a world that was quite different from the worlds of Stevenson that I had entered before. The Black Arrow is an interesting story that combines several themes in a twisting but not confusing plot. I also enjoyed the rich desciption of the settings and battles. However, some of the language is often hard to follow since many of the words Stevenson used are unused in today's speech. But the engrossing plot kept me engaged as long as I took the time to read slightly slower and not skip over such words as 'churlish.' But overall, this was a great book and I would recommend it to anyone who has read any of Stevenson's stories.
Munningss_SCapingReality More than 1 year ago
Choose this book version with the cover picture instead. This version is unreadable.
cheapskatereader More than 1 year ago
A great book but almost unreadable: missing words and letters, strange symbols, reversed pages, etc. Buy the optimized version with terrific Wyeth illustrations.
kem-FL More than 1 year ago
I don't actually know whether the book is good or not. The ebook is formatted very poorly for online reading - no paragraph breaks, no chapter headings, justified text, and illustration captions mixed into the story. I found it impossible to read. I usually enjoy old historical fiction - but not this book in this format.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Black Arrow is my favorite book of all time, it's a little hard to get into from the begining but you quickly catch-on. I find it amazing that the main character time after time ends up in a trap and yet somehow allways gets out with his life!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i am sure the book must be good, but I found it unreadable due to poor scanning.
bga_reviews More than 1 year ago
This edition was scanned by Google, and the OCR turned into an ebook. Unfortunately, Google doesn't need to concern itself with little subtleties like paragraphs for its search engine. Unless you want to read Robert Louis Stevenson channeled by James Joyce, you're much better off viewing the Google Books PDF edition, or any edition from Project Gutenberg ( or other public domain ebook sites (,, etc.) I'm not sure if anyone else has a free eReader format book, though.
breadcrumbreads on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Finally!! After weeks and weeks of reading this book I am finally done! The Black Arrow simply has to be the dullest book I have ever read! Masquerading as a swashbuckling novel of merely a couple of hundred pages, I found it to be slow in language, contrived in style, pathetic in characterisation, and sloppy of plot. If you're wondering why I plodded my way through this then...well...I can only say that once having started it I figured I simply had to finish it. The story is set during the period of the wars between the two disctinct branches (also known as the red and white roses) of the Plantagenet line. Its protaganist is a young man by the name of Richard Shelton who will stop at nothing to save the woman he is in love with. He enlists the help of the league of the Black Arrow - a bunch of outlaws and outcasts - and gets involved in the war that rages around him.*SPOILER WARNING*The brief summary doesn't sound to bad, does it? Except that Richard Shelton is an extremely weak character who inspires absolutely nothing in the least, he invoked no positive response from me! He was a dithering lad with plenty of bravado but no wisdom or commonsense. And while this does not necessarly make a protaganist unworthy (in fact it does not if the characterization is done well) Richard was plainly a fool. One must give him credit for seeing it himself at the end of the novel, but I did wonder what it was that Joanna (the heroine) found in him! The characterization was so dreadfully shallow. There wasn't a single character that was rounded. They were all as flat and dry as cardboard. And it seemed to me that the only reason young Dicky survives right up till the end of the novel is because he had the good fortune of being the author's main guy. I suspect that this could never have passed as a real-life story! Every single person I came across in the novel seemed to be naive in some way or the other. In fact, I feel, this entire plot works out on the naivity and foolishness of everybody involved.But what really got my goat was the character of Joanna's best friend, Alicia Risingham. Her role, seemed to be, much like the role of the jesters and fools in Shakepeare's plays. Outwardly light-hearted and full of fun, it is she who disects Richard's character bit by bit - but she herself is as uninteresting as the above mentioned cardboard. This would perhaps be because of how she was grieving for her dead uncle one day and the very next had completely forgotten her own grief as her friend gets married. No. She forgets on the same day she realises, actually. As for the men of the Black Arrow, at the beginning one thinks they are going to play a major part in the plot, but they are pushed deep into the woods whence they came from and reappear piece-meal, at the end. This last is a pity, especially as they sound as interesting as Robin Hood and his merry men. If anything, I suspected that they were perhaps the same...or they were used as a model by Stevenson. The language, as I have mentioned before, was very contrived. More so when there was dialogue as Stevenson tries to imitate a language and style he could only have read from books of that era. While this particular form would not seem odd, for instance, in Chaucer's works, it was very, very odd and detracted from the story in this book. I suppose as the first is based in a contemporary world, and therefore well known, the language cannot be contrived, while in the latter case it just wasn't the same through lack of living it. Stevenson's descriptions were good, but the dialogue simply gave me a headache (perhaps this explains the headaches I've been having these past three days??).And speaking of descriptions, there is this one phrase that has stayed with me:"So they ran on, holding each other by both hands, exchanging smiles and lovely looks, and melting minutes into seconds..."The Black Arrow is thus sprinkled with few pretty phrases like that, and I will admit to being remin
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Ok. Im wating for you
number1teacher More than 1 year ago
While I appreciate the story being told, understanding the language of 15th century England poses a challenge. I'm drawn back to my studies of Shakespeare. Wouldst that this missive been more easily readable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Total jibberish due to a million typos!!! Unreadable jumbled mess of characters.
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Arthur_Coombe More than 1 year ago
Whiling away my time in the library of The American School in London, I found this book purely by chance. I was in the seventh grade at the time. The Black Arrow is set in England in the days of Henry VI. It opens with the knight Sir Daniel leaving a trail of rack and ruin across the countryside surrounding his Moat House. The villainous archer Appleyard (veteran of Agincourt), man-at-arms Bennett Hatch and Sir Oliver Oates assist Sir Daniel. The outlaw Jon Amend-All vows revenge against all four of them, taunting them in this note nailed to the door of the church: "Dick Shelton took the page in his hand and read it aloud. It contained some lines of very rugged doggerel, hardly even rhyming, written in a gross character, and most uncouthly spelt. With the spelling somewhat bettered, this is how they ran: I had four blak arrows under my belt, Four for the greefs that I have felt, Four for the number of ill menne That have oppressed me now and then One is gone; one is wele sped; Old Appleyaird is dead. One is for Master Bennet Hatch, That burned Grimstone, walls and thatch. One is for Sir Oliver Oates, Who cut Sir Harry Shelton's throat. Sir Daniel, ye shall have the fourth; We shall think it fair sport. Ye shall each have your own part, A blak arrow in each blak heart. Get ye to your knees for to pray, Ye are dead theeves by yea and nay. From Jon Amend-All of the Green Wood and his jolly fellowship "Now, well-a-day for charity and the Christian graces!" cried Sir Oliver, lamentably. "Sirs, this is an ill world, and daily groweth worse." The book was filmed in 1911 and 1948. It was also an Australian TV special in 1973.
JohnB_of_Indy More than 1 year ago
I read this book in either middle or elementary school and loved it. With so many books so easy to get on the Nook, I thought I'd try it again now that I'm nearly fifty. I did not think I would, but I am enjoying it very much. It does seem to have been written for much younger readers, but that may be a combination of my own perspective and the nineteenth century writing. It's a good swashbuckling adventure and gives a good basic look at the War of the Roses.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lurks in the darkness...