Image of R. M. Ballantyne


Lifetime: 1825 - 1894 Passed: ≈ 130 years ago


Author, Novelist



R. M. Ballantyne

R.M. Ballantyne (1825-1894) was a Scottish novelist and journalist, best known for his adventure stories for boys. He was a prolific writer, publishing over 80 books during his lifetime. His novels were popular in his own time and continue to be read today.

Early Life

Ballantyne was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1825. He was the eldest son of a banker. He attended Edinburgh Academy and then the University of Edinburgh, where he studied law. However, he gave up his legal studies to pursue a career in writing.


Ballantyne began his career as a journalist. He wrote for several newspapers and magazines, including The Times and The Edinburgh Review. In 1856, he published his first book, The Young Fur Traders. This book was a success, and Ballantyne went on to write many more adventure stories for boys.


Ballantyne's novels promote the values of courage, self-reliance, and Christian faith. His characters are often young boys who overcome challenges and obstacles through their own determination and perseverance. Ballantyne believed that adventure stories could teach boys important life lessons and help them to become better men.

Notable Works

Some of Ballantyne's most notable works include:

  • The Coral Island (1858)
  • The Dog Crusoe (1861)
  • The Gorilla Hunters (1862)
  • The Lighthouse Boys (1865)
  • Black Ivory (1866)
  • The World of Ice (1872)
  • The Rover of the Andes (1873)


Ballantyne's philosophy was based on the belief that adventure stories could teach boys important life lessons and help them to become better men. He believed that boys needed to be challenged and tested in order to grow and develop. He also believed that boys needed to learn the importance of courage, self-reliance, and Christian faith.

Death and Legacy

Ballantyne died in 1894 at the age of 69. He is remembered as one of the most popular and influential writers of adventure stories for boys. His novels have inspired generations of readers and continue to be enjoyed today.

Interesting Facts About R.M. Ballantyne

  • Ballantyne was a skilled outdoorsman. He enjoyed camping, fishing, and hunting.
  • Ballantyne was also a talented artist. He illustrated many of his own books.
  • Ballantyne was a devout Christian. His faith played an important role in his life and his writing.
  • Ballantyne's novels have been translated into many languages and have been adapted for film and television.

Books by R. M. Ballantyne

Freaks on the Fells: Three Months' Rustication, Story 3 Cover image

Freaks on the Fells: Three Months' Rustication, Story 3

Adventure Fiction
Action Self-Discovery Friendship Suspense Imagination Immersive Adversity

In "Freaks on the Fells: Three Months' Rustication, Story 3" by R. M. Ballantyne, an enigmatic world of adventure unfolds as we follow the compelling journey of three unlikely comrades. Amidst the rugged and untamed landscape of the fells, an extraor...

Freaks on the Fells: Three Months' Rustication, Story 1 Cover image

Freaks on the Fells: Three Months' Rustication, Story 1

Adventure Fiction
Young Spirit Action Friendship Life Summer Imagination Mysterious

Imagine spending a summer exploring a mysterious mountain range, filled with hidden caves, ancient ruins, and strange creatures. That's the adventure that awaits the three young protagonists of Robert Michael Ballantyne's classic coming-of-age story...

Fighting the Flames Cover image

Fighting the Flames

Adventure Fiction
Fight Historical Fiction Courage Fire Determination Wisdom Motivation

In the heart of a bustling city, where flames dance and danger lurks, a group of fearless firefighters stands ready to face the inferno's wrath. Amidst the crackling heat and billowing smoke, they battle against the destructive force of fire, risking...

Fighting the Whales Cover image

Fighting the Whales

A fatherless boy joins the crew of a whaling ship in order to earn a living for himself and his mother. Beyond being a fascinating depiction of a now-alien time, occupation, and culture, it's also a rousing adventure story. One is left with the impre...

Golden Dream Cover image

Golden Dream

Thoroughly engaging, at times even harrowing, adventure tale set in the San Francisco gold rush. Detailed depiction of its time and place, complete with everything from mining techniques to societal attitudes. You'll feel like you're in the diggings....

Madman and The Pirate Cover image

Madman and The Pirate

R. M. Ballantyne (April 24, 1825 – February 8, 1894) was a Scottish juvenile fiction writer. Born Robert Michael Ballantyne in Edinburgh, he was part of a famous family of printers and publishers. At the age of 16 he went to Canada and was six years...

Dog Crusoe and His Master Cover image

Dog Crusoe and His Master

This is a story of an adventure involving a young man, his dog, and two friends. Together they wander through the Western prairies on a mission to make peace between the "pale-faces" and the "Red men". They face many perils and become heroes many tim...

Fast in the Ice Cover image

Fast in the Ice

At the age of 16 Ballantyne went to Canada and was six years in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company. His rule in writing, being in every case, was to write as far as possible from personal knowledge of the scenes he described.In this book he deta...

Coral Island Cover image

Coral Island

Ralph Rover is a traveler at heart, and has always dreamed of shipping out to the South Seas islands. He finally convinces his aging parents to let him go and find his way in the world. But the islands that Ralph finds are not as idyllic as in his dr...

Black Ivory Cover image

Black Ivory

Although the book's title Black Ivory denotes dealing in the slave trade it is not our heroes who are doing it. At the very first chapter there is a shipwreck, which leaves the son of the charterer of the sinking ship, and a seaman friend of his, alo...

My Doggie and I Cover image

My Doggie and I

This story surrounds a child waif, a young woman, a young gentleman doctor, and an elderly lady. This tale unfolds the story of a bond that brings these unlikely friends together and merges their separate paths of life into one common path. The bond...

Iron Horse Cover image

Iron Horse

“Is that your bundle, sir?” repeated Mr Blunt a little louder. “Eh? yes, yes—all right,” replied Edwin, annoyed at the interruption, and thinking only of Emma Lee, to whom he turned, and went on—“Well, when Colonel Jones had scaled the first wall—” “...

Post Haste Cover image

Post Haste

In this book, Ballantyne weaves the story of Phillip Mayland and his friend, George Aspel with an interesting portrayal of the British Post Office as it existed in the 19th century. In the words of R. M. Ballantyne himself: "This tale is founded ch...

Charlie to the Rescue Cover image

Charlie to the Rescue

Charlie Brooke is always rescuing others, and sometimes even himself! His latest rescue, though, could turn out to be fatal...- Summary by Adele de Pignerolles

Twice Bought Cover image

Twice Bought

This story is set in the gold fields of Oregon, where Tom Brixton, and his best friend, Fred Westly, are digging gold to try to “make their pile”. Before leaving England, the steady and God-fearing Fred had promised Tom's mother that he would do his...

Island Queen Cover image

Island Queen

The story of Dominic, Otto and Pauline Rigonda, three siblings who are blown onto an island after being shipwrecked, and are later joined by the immigrant passengers and crew of a ship that is wrecked on the same island. When the question of governm...

Jarwin and Cuffy Cover image

Jarwin and Cuffy

Jarwin is an English sailor who has been shipwrecked. He is stranded on a raft with only his dog Cuffy, and land is nowhere in sight. Their food and water is running out. What can Jarwin do to save his dog's (and his own) life? Summary by Esther ben...

Dusty Diamonds Cut and Polished Cover image

Dusty Diamonds Cut and Polished

A runaway carriage, a spunky little girl, and a street urchin combine on the first page of Dusty Diamonds Cut and Polished: a Tale of City Arab Life in a hilarious combination that you won't want to leave. This story shows first hand what 'city arab...

Away in the Wilderness Cover image

Away in the Wilderness

Jasper Derry was on a mission. He had left the northern wilderness a few years earlier when he had worked for the Hudson's Bay Company, but in doing so he had also left some unfinished business behind. Now he is on his quest to complete those affairs...

Pirate City: An Algerine Tale Cover image

Pirate City: An Algerine Tale

The Pirate City follows the three members of the Rimini family on their adventure to the African city of Algier, Algeria. The story begins in the Remini abode in Sicily, where Francisco and his two sons Lucien and Mariano are contemplating their trad...