By Claire Harman.
Abridged by Polly Coles.
Read by David Tennant.As a boy, Stevenson was often confined to bed with mystery illnesses.
But this fuelled his imagination and fantasies, spurred on by his Calvinist nanny who thought melodramas and the theatre in particular, were the work of the devil.
Stevenson met his future American wife in an artists' colony in France.
Within days he was hooked by her tales of the Wild West and so began his dogged pursuit of her across the length and breadth of the States.
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One of the most famous stories in the world came to Stevenson in a dream.
The first draft was thrown into the fire, but within ten weeks he acquired international fame.
After the death of his father, Stevenson moved to the States for health reasons.
Accompanied by his mother and an extended family he was soon to discover what becoming a celebrity entailed.
Almost on a whim, Stevenson decided to go on an extended yachting cruise to the South Pacific.
The longer he was at sea, the happier and healthier he became, before finally settling on Samoa, the island that was to become his final home.