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The Black Arrow: Illustrated

346 pages4 hours


The Black Arrow: A Tale of the Two Roses is an 1888 novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. The illustrations were made by Newell Convers Wyeth (1882-1945) and published in 1916.

It is both an historical adventure novel and a romance. The Black Arrow tells the story of Richard (Dick) Shelton during the Wars of the Roses: how he becomes a knight, rescues his lady Joanna Sedley, and obtains justice for the murder of his father, Sir Harry Shelton. Outlaws in Tunstall Forest organized by Ellis Duckworth, whose weapon and calling card is a black arrow, cause Dick to suspect that his guardian Sir Daniel Brackley and his retainers are responsible for his father's murder. Dick's suspicions are enough to turn Sir Daniel against him, so he has no recourse but to escape from Sir Daniel and join the outlaws of the Black Arrow against him. This struggle sweeps him up into the greater conflict surrounding them all.

The swashbuckling story tells of a young man betrayed by his brutal guardian and forced to seek the help of a secret society. Dick Shelton must locate John Amend-All, leader of the mysterious fellowship of the Black Arrow and his guardian's sworn enemy. Shelton successfully infiltrates the Black Arrow and gets swept up into the greater conflict surrounding them all.

The Black Arrow has been adapted for film and television several times, often very loosely. Adaptations include a 1911 film short starring Charles Ogle, a 1948 film starring Louis Hayward, a 1985 film starring Oliver Reed and Benedict Taylor, a Soviet film Chyornaya strela 1985, a 1951 two-part British TV serial starring Denis Quilley, a 1968 seven-part Italian TV production entitled La freccia nera, a 1988 animated adaptation by Burbank Films Australia, and a popular British TV series running from 1972-1975.

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