Robert Louis Stevenson, a man who was proud to call himself a Scot, was brought up in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he studied to become a lawyer. After qualifying he did indeed start down this career path but he used to amuse himself by writing short stories and essays for magazines. These brought in small amounts of money and earned him a good reputation locally, but it was in 1883, when Treasure Island was published, that he decided to take up writing full time.

The success of Treasure Island altered the direction of his writing: from now on he concentrated almost exclusively on similar romantic fiction. Nicopa has mentioned his three best-known works above, but The Master of Ballantrae was also well-loved in its time, and the unfinished Weir of Hermiston (published two years after his death) is considered his masterpiece. His death in Samoa, where he had settled in 1888, cut short the career of one of the most accessible of Victorian writers.