Wednesday, the 12th of October, and time for Shelf Control once again! Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. To participate, all you do is pick a book from your TBR pile, and write a post about it–what its about, why you want to read it, when you got it, and such. If you participate, don’t forget to link back to Lisa’s page, and do also leave your links in the comments below as I’d love to check out your picks as well!

Today’s pick is a classic which has been on my ebook pile for a fairly long time, well over 5 years I think. The book is Captain Blood, the first in a trilogy of the same name by Rafael Sabatini. Born in Italy in 1875, Sabatini was the writer of swashbuckling and seafaring historical fiction. Quite prolific, he wrote 34 novels, short-story collections, non fiction, as well as several uncollected short stories. Many of his books became bestsellers.

Captain Blood, first published in 1922 (which makes it 100 this year), tells the story of fictional Irish physician Peter Blood, who has a career as a soldier and sailor. Peter ends up connected with the Monmouth Rebellion when he attends to some wounded, and is sentenced by the famous Judge Jeffreys of the Bloody Assizes. The sentence however, is not hanging but transportation and Peter finds himself a slave in the West Indies. Of course he escapes, and becomes a savvy pirate! While Captain Blood is fictional, he was inspired by the real-life John Coad, who was involved in and convicted for the Monmouth revolution, transported, and eventually found his way home (I read about him in Condemned by Graham Seal). Captain Blood was adapted for the screen in 1935.

I read another of Sabatini’s books, Scaramouche (1921), and later its sequel Scaramouche: The King Maker (1931), both of which were set around the French Revolution; in the first our protagonist Andre-Louis Moreau supports the revolutionaries, but by the second book, he finds himself disillusioned by what they have turned into and works towards restoring order even if he doesn’t quite switch sides. I enjoyed both books and how Sabatini combined the fictional and historical elements to give one an exciting adventure. And I had downloaded Captain Blood soon after finishing these but then didn’t get down to reading it.

The fact that this is its centenary year does tempt me to try and fit this in soon.

Have you read this book or any others by Rafael Sabatini? Which ones and how did you like them? Looking forward to your thoughts!

Cover image from Goodreads; book description and author information from wikipedia (here and here) .

Lisa’s pick this week is We Ride Upon Sticks (2020) by Quan Barry, a witch story and a perfect pick for the season!

13 thoughts on “Shelf Control #203: Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini

  1. Now I didn’t know that the Captain Blood film was inspired by this book – sadly I’ve seen neither movie nor novel, and only know that the film’s reputation preceded it! And a quick look at Sabatini’s biography on Wikipedia suggests the author was an interesting individual in his own right too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ‘Swashbuckling’ popped into my head as soon as I saw that cover then you used it in your post which prompted me to look it up. Apparently ‘swash’ means blustering or bully while ‘buckle’ refers to a small round shield. Who knew? It’s certainly a word brought to mind for many of us when we think of seafaring fiction!


  3. I loved Scaramouche, although I still haven’t read the sequel. Captain Blood is just as enjoyable and I can also highly recommend The Sea-Hawk, another of Sabatini’s pirate novels.

    Liked by 1 person

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