Sunday, October 14, 2012

Review: CAPTAIN BLOOD by Rafael Sabatini

book cover
Original Publication Date: 1922

Genre: adventure

Topics: pirates, politics, freedom, love


With a name like Peter Blood, a man has limited but awesome career choices. He could become a soldier, a doctor, a rebel, a killer, or an outlaw. Somehow this Peter Blood manages to be all five.

After soldiering under De Ruyter, Blood decides to put his bachelor's degree in medicine to good use (bachelor's degree! Education has really gone down in quality since the 17th century, people) and settle to a quiet life in Somerset as a physician. But fate has more adventures in store for our high-strung hero; after attending to a rebel wounded during the Monmouth Rebellion, Blood is arrested and accused of being a traitor. He's sentenced to death, but the sentence is commuted to slavery in Barbados. Blah blah blah, he captures a Spanish ship and becomes a pirate captain!

Honestly, I didn't enjoy Captain Blood as much as Scaramouche (review here). I didn't dislike it, but neither did I want to LIVE in it they way that I did Scaramouche. This mostly isn't the book's fault at all. I was listening to the Librivox version, and it wasn't the best production. I know they're volunteers and all, but it made listening to Captain Blood difficult at times. This novel definitely deserves a re-recording. Part of it also had to do with the fact that I had a lot of interest in and knowledge of Revolutionary France going into Scaramouche; my familiarity with the time period of Captain Blood (1680's, according to Wikipedia) is sketchy at best.

Aside from that, though, remember how I was just a tad touchy about the women in Scaramouche? Well, when it comes to female characters, Captain Blood is even worse. There's basically one female character, Arabella, and she's annoying as all heck. Basically her entire purpose in the book is to put the screws to Captain Blood and make him feel like a heel for being the most awesome pirate captain who ever liiiiiiiiived.

But there was also a lot to like in Captain Blood, namely: Peter Blood! How could you not love someone who 1., has an Irish accent; 2. speaks approximately a dozen languages; 3. quotes poetry; 4. stands up for his principles; and 5. tells hanging judges, generals, governors, and pirates to kiss his ass LIKE A BOSS.

like a boss

Another great thing about Peter Blood is that he gets all broody when Arabella doesn't pay attention to him. I love it when he gets all broody! Gah that Arabella, what is wrong with her?

So while I don't think Captain Blood is quite as good Scaramouche, it's still quite good. You should read it, and I will definitely keep reading Sabatini's work (except maybe not on Librivox).

You might also want to read:
Alex's review of Captain Blood here.
My review of Scaramouche here.

Download Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini at Project Gutenberg|Librivox