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Book Note: Rafael Sabatini, Captain Blood

I read this book about 25-Dec-2002. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 1922. This note was last modified Sunday, 05-Jan-2003 23:46:50 PST.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


The great classic of swashbuckling, despite my fondness for Dumas. This is a Bantam 1976 paperback edition, with a double cover (giving a two-page color spread just inside the front cover). They seem to have promoted this fairly heavily. I interrupted reading this on 27-Dec to pick up Steven Brust's The Paths of the Dead, and got back to it sometime in early January (finished it 5-Jan-2003).

One of the classics of swash, of course. Seems very episodic, not progressing much of anywhere. And Captain Blood and Arabella Bishop are right idiots. They should talk to each other and not make up random assumptions all the time. (It was published in 1922, and adheres to the conventions of an earlier time than that.)

This is set about 1688, considerably earlier than Nelson's Navy, so I can't judge the ship handling. Specifically, I keep wondering whether practice or author's preference is the source of a difference I spot. There's some nice tactical planning and execution. There's plenty of contempt for the French and Spanish, a staple of the later Navy books.

For a while, I was afraid it was going to end tragically, which would have been really ugly. Luckily that was averted.

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David Dyer-Bennet