R. M. Ballantyne (1825-1894) was a Scots writer of juvenile fiction. When I was a kid we had at home cheap classic novels designed for children published by Dean and Son. Lists of novels and authors were reproduced on the backs of these so I have long known the name of Ballantyne and the fact he wrote Coral Island, though I've never read it. Edinburgh born he was part of a famous family of printers and publishers. At 16 he went to Canada and was six years in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company, returning in 1847. In 1848 he published his first book, Hudson's Bay: or, Life in the Wilds of North America. In 1856 he gave up the publishing business to write. His books include The Young Fur-Traders (1856), The Coral Island (1857), The World of Ice (1859), Ungava: a Tale of Eskimo Land (1857), The Dog Crusoe (1860), The Lighthouse (1865), Fighting the Whales (1866), Deep Down (1868), The Pirate City (1874), Erling the Bold (1869), The Settler and the Savage (1877), and over a hundred other titles. He was also an accomplished artist, and exhibited some of his water-colours at the Scots RA.