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Kidnapped was written as a boys' novel and was first published in Young Folks magazine in 1886. It is an historical fiction story set in Scotland and written in English with some Lowland Scot dialogue. Kidnapped is set around real 18th-century Scottish events, notably the "Appin murder", which occurred in the aftermath of the Jacobite rising of 1745. Many of the characters are real people, including one of the principals, Alan Breck Stewart. The political situation of the time is portrayed from multiple viewpoints, and the Scottish Highlanders are treated sympathetically.

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