Friday, April 6, 2012
Forgotten (and Free for Kindle) Books: Captain Blood
You probably already know Captain Blood a great movie. (If not, come back on Tuesday and I'll tell you.) But it's an even better book, and that's saying something. The novel first appeared in 1921, in nine separate segments in the great pulp mag Adventure, and in book form the following year. And because all this happened prior to 1923, it's in the public domain, and free RIGHT HERE for Kindle.
In case you don't know the setup . . . the story begins with Peter Blood settling down (after a career of soldiering, with plenty of experience in naval battles) to his preferred profession of practicing medicine. Unluckily for him (but lucky for us), his neighbors are in revolt against the king of England, and after a disastrous battle, Blood is called upon to tend their wounds. When he does, the crown brands him a traitor and sentences him, along with a group of true rebels, to a life of slavery in Barbados.
Sabatini's prose conveys the flavor of the times, but is still crisp and witty. There are several passages that make me laugh out loud. The only bad news is that at the end of the book, Blood hangs up his pirate hat for good. BUT WAIT! That's not really the end, because Sabatini went on to write 16 short stories, all set within the time frame of the novel, when Blood was at his swashbuckling best.
The stories were collected as Captain Blood Returns (1931) (rechristened The Chronicles of Captain Blood in England) and The Fortunes of Captain Blood (1936). And guess what? I've read both of those books more than three times, too. And I'm nowhere near being finished.
The adventure of Forgotten Books continues at pattinase.