Perhaps the most well known work by Rafael Sabatini, this book recieved the big screen treatment several times, including the 1935 version starring Errol Flynn.
The book was orignally published in 1922 and is set in the historical background of the 1600s, opening with the Battle of Sedgemoor and ending with the Glorius Revolution in 1688.
It follows the adventures of Peter Blood, a former sailor and soldier practicing medicine in Somerset, who is caught treating a rebel nobleman and arrested by the dragoon. He is then convicted and sentenced to death, saved only by James II desire to benefit from the rebels by selling them into slavery to plantation owners in the Carribean. After several years of soul-destroying slavery, Blood affects his and his fellow rebel-convicts escape from Barbados and slavery, when the township is unlawfully attacked by a Spanish ship. Blood and his fellows capture the ship and liberate the town before making good their escape. They land in Tortuga and eventually agree that a life of piracy is the best they can hope for.
The book is well written and an excellent balance of plot and action. If you enjoyed the Pirates of the Carribean movies, then you will love the details and revelations about the lives of Pirates, their strange brand of honour and democracy and the superb sea battles.
Captain Blood richly deserves being counted amongst fictional geniuses like Sherlock Holmes and Dr Who, he is a brilliant, charming and charismatic protagonist that will instantly win over the reader’s sympathy.
My only issues with this book were that big chunks of the Captain’s exploits are sacrificed for length, which are filled in by the other two Captain Blood novels, but would have made for good reading if presented in a linear fashion in one volume. I highly recommend this book to writers and fans of historical fiction, adventure stories and fantasy fans.