In his romance "The Master of Ballantrae" Stevenson has touched high-water mark. One is tempted to go beyond this and say that no modern work of fiction in the English language rises higher in the scale of literary merit than this. It is a story of human passion, of human weakness, of human love and hate. The scene of the tale, for the most part, is laid in and around the House of Durrisdeer, on the Solway shore.
Four persons make up the dramatis persona, at the beginning of the story, and although others come into the drama as it wears on to its tragical close, it may be said that no greater number than this is called into the plot of the piece. An old lord overfond of his rascally elder son; that son, devilish in his selfishness and satanic in his powers of fascination; a young woman blindly in love with him; and a younger son, who is early taunted with being the Supplanter, and who has the only virtue in the family; these are the materials from which Mr. Stevenson has evolved one of the most admirable pieces of literary work that has been given to the world of readers in many a day.