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The Sea-Hawk

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  2,250 Ratings  ·  116 Reviews
Oliver Tressilian, a Cornish gentleman who helped the English defeat the Spanish Armada, is betrayed by his ruthless half-brother and seeks refuge in the Middle East, where he takes on a new role as a Barbary pirate.
Paperback, 400 pages
Published July 17th 2002 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1915)
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(showing 1-30)
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Rachel Teng
Sep 13, 2012 Rachel Teng rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sabatini seems so far to have a pattern to his writing. His stories stop when the hero has his happy ending and justice has been delivered to his villains, i.e., actual scumbags for whom there is very little sympathy from the reader. In all three books, there is also the woman who misunderstands the hero, the side villain that redeems himself, and the fool of a side character that makes life hard for the hero. The hero is sardonic, honorable, stoic, steadfast, and faces adversity with a barbed t ...more
Pranta Ghosh Dastider
Sometimes roots of all evil lies within mankind, equally as a species.

I won't say anything but that, because I try to respect both men and women equally, but ... Well, read the story and you shall understand what I mean.

The Sea-Hawk, indeed, was a epic saga. So much story within one book, so many things happened within one fourth of the book, and so many ups and downs altogether... all made me captive with awe. A story told so long ago, yet it remains to be one of its kind. Thus The Sea-Hawk
Apr 05, 2010 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rafael Sabatini! Oh, this generation doesn't even KNOW. This is a classic swashbuckling novel by the author of Captain Blood, and it is deliciously over the top. Handsome, powerful Oliver Tressilian, in love with the fair Rosamund, is working to overcome the opposition that Rosamund's sleazy brother and guardian are posing to their marriage. R's brother Peter provokes Oliver into public threats, but Oliver controls himself for love of his fair one; alas, Oliver's weasly brother Lionel kills Pete ...more
May 12, 2016 Shuvro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
রাফায়েল সাবতিনি এর লেখা আগে পড়ি নি । যদিও অনুবাদ পড়েছি কিনতু সবীকার করতে বাধা নেই যে এমন রোমাঞচ উপনযাস আগে কখনো পড়িনি । উপনযাসটাই টুইসটে ভরপুর। এক টানে পুরো পাতা মনতর মুগধের মত পড়েছি । আর অনুবাদক ইসমাইল আরমান ও যথারথ গুণের পরিচয় দিয়েছেন । এই বইটি রাফায়েল সাবতিনি এর সবচেয়ে বিখযাত উপনযাস। ইনটার নযাশনাল বেসটসেলার বলতে যা বুঝায় তা শুরু হয়েছিল এই বইটির মাধযমেই । ...more
Gary Hoggatt
I first came to Rafael Sabatini through his excellent 1922 pirate novel Captain Blood, and then read his fine 1921 swashbuckling tale, Scaramouche. Continuing this journey through Sabatini's novels, I've just completed his 1915 pirate intrigue, The Sea-Hawk. The Sea-Hawk doesn't disappoint, living up exceedingly well to the high standards of Sabatini's other novels. It's got everything - adventure, drama, romance, and exotic locales. There are some elements that echo Sabatini's other stories, bu ...more
Sep 29, 2011 Dfordoom rated it it was amazing
I have a bit of a weakness for swashbuckling tales of adventure, and I think it’s fair to say that the greatest writer of such stories in the English language was Rafael Sabatini (1875-1950). And The Sea Hawk, originally published in 1915, is generally regarded as one of his finest works.

Sabatini was born in Italy. His mother was English and from the age of seventeen he made his home in England. All his books were written in English.

Like his even more famous Captain Blood which came out in 192
Nov 27, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hannahr, Misfit
Recommended to Laura by: Old-Barbarossa
Buddy read with Bettie, Hayes (?) and Wanda.

Page 75:
Sakr-el-Bahr, the hawk of the sea, the scourge of the Mediterranean and the terror of Christian Spain lay prone on the heights of Cape Spartel.

This is the story of Oliver Tressilian who became a corsair since he was wrongly accused by this own brother of the murder of Master Peter Godolphin.

He then became a Barbary pirate after have spent a long time a galley slave.

Lady Rosamund Godolphin, his girlfriend, didn't trust him at the first time an
Noor Jahangir
Aug 16, 2010 Noor Jahangir rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sir Oliver Tressilian is the elder son of a man remembered by people as a foul-tempered despot and some of that bias has passed on to his son. Sir Oliver has paid of his father's debts and made his fortune by privateering in the name of the Queen, piracy by a gentler name. Now he is in love with Lady Godolophin, who has had a gentling effect on his troubled soul. But all is not well, for Lady Godolophin's borther, Peter, intensely dislikes Oliver due to their Guardian's dislike of the man, a gru ...more
Apr 22, 2015 Jim rated it it was amazing
I saw the Errol Flynn film based on this novel many years ago, and along with Captain Blood and Scaramouche, it made me curious to read the works of Sabatini--for starters, one of the great names in literary history. Doesn't it just fall trippingly from the tongue?

So I got The Sea-Hawk from the library, and read it . . . and discovered that the film and the novel are not really that similar. This should not have shocked me. It is certainly not the first time a film has been very different from t
John Beach
Jul 24, 2013 John Beach rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
This is a more difficult Sabatini historical fiction to get into, I think, because none of the main characters are exactly… well, likable. We see some good character traits in the main character, like fidelity, but we also see him spending much of his time seeking vengeance and dreaming up punishments to exact his revenge.

Like most of Sabatini's swashbuckling heroes, Sir Oliver Tressilian/The Sea Hawk/Sakr-el-Bahr is very capable, strong, daring—arrogant, but he comes off much more gruff, short-
Mar 15, 2011 Donna rated it really liked it
Sir Oliver Tressilian is a wealthy landowner who plans to marry his beautiful neighbor, Rosamund. But after Rosamund's brother is murdered, not even she believes he's innocent of the crime. Before he can clear his name, his brother betrays him into slavery, where a chance encounter propels him into the ranks of the Barbary pirates. Five years later, he's Sakr-El-Bahr, the Sea Hawk, and he decides that it's time to use his new position to settle old scores.

Sir Oliver is more difficult to like tha
Sep 03, 2016 Helen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun. Another reviewer described it as escapist, and it is. Duels, kidnapping, treachery, betrayal, vengeance, love . . . it's all there. The language seems deliberately old-fashioned but it's still easy to understand. Sabatini even tries to get into the characters' heads and presents them as individuals with choices rather than cardboard figures he can move at will. My biggest problem is that he describes the slavery the Algerian Muslim pirates practice as more picturesque than an abomination. H ...more
Julie Davis
Feb 01, 2016 Julie Davis rated it really liked it
Rafael Sabatini's Captain Blood is a story I've enjoyed in the past but it never prompted me to explore his other novels. This is, apparently, the time for exploration. It began with noticing this title which matches my favorite Errol Flynn movie. Turns out the title is about all they took from the book, if indeed the book was at all involved.

This is a much better tale, one of a family feud, betrayed brotherhood, and love gone awry which results in galley slavery, more than a flirtation with Isl
Jun 30, 2012 Remus rated it it was ok
Shelves: sabatini

My least favorite of Sabatini's so far.
I don't understand why this is one of the most popular of his works. If you are expecting much in the form of action and adventure you will be disappointed. The "Part One" of the novel kept my interest but after that first ship battle it really slowed down. The book was too long for how uneventful it was and yet the ending was too sudden. The setting is quite exotic and vivid and one chapter: "The Slave-Market" although it does seem to deviate from the mai
Jul 23, 2016 Wade rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am so glad that initially took the Goodreads recommendation to read Scaramouche (also by Savatini), since I loved that I picked up Captain Blood, another big winner, and now Sea-Hawk.

This book was a fast paced
swashbuckler that seemed to me what you would get if you combined Captain Blood with Ben-Hur, then added a dash of Laurence of Arabia. The story was well done and quite intriguing, the characters developed well and were relatable, and as I've already stated, the pace kept me on the edge
Nov 05, 2012 Christine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I very much enjoyed this romantic adventure. I know, I know, it's totally sexist. But that needs to be forgiven, because it is just such good fun. I can't give a book like this 5 stars, because it's not much more than fun, and because of the imbalance between the strong, witty alpha male and the "faithless," easily manipulated, weak-minded but lovely and virtuous woman.

But it's just so fun, and pretty well-written.
Dec 06, 2009 Travis rated it really liked it
Classic bit of swashbuckling, high seas adventure as a young nobleman is framed for a crime and, fleeing England, ends up as a corsair in a middle-eastern rulers fleet.
Fun, as it is not the typical pirate story setting and enough adventure that you can live with all the cliches of the genre.
The book was a surprise, because in the movie, the Sea Hawk is very typical english pirate. In the book he's more 'Lawrence of Arabia'.
Penelope Marzec
Sir Oliver Tressilian is wronged by his half-brother, Lionel. Kidnapped, Oliver survives slavery at the oar of a Spanish ship and becomes a Muslim pirate. Feared and respected, Oliver becomes Sakr-El-Bahr. When an unexpected chance comes along for him to wreak vengeance upon Lionel, he sets out for England. However, in seeking to settle the score, he puts his own life in grave danger.
May 18, 2015 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rafael Sabatini is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. The Sea Hawk is the 2nd book I've read of his and it's already one of my favorite books of all time. I look forward to reading many more of his work!
Nov 30, 2008 James rated it really liked it
Listened to podcast at ( Interesting view of Islam by the Italian author in 1915.
Feb 12, 2013 Tara rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Banaz Rashad
Recommended to Tara by: Hevi Rashad
one of the best stories, interesting and full of adventures ;)
Martin Pierce
Oct 18, 2016 Martin Pierce rated it liked it
A classic sea novel, and worth reading if that's what you're in the mood for. Otherwise, my preference is more current books. The language in The Sea-Hawk is a bit dated even for the time it was written, so it really comes off as ancient to the modern reader. The story is a classic and worthy of a read for that reason.
Jenny Esplin
Mar 24, 2010 Jenny Esplin rated it really liked it
**more like 3.5 stars

I didn't like this book as well as Captain Blood, mates. It had a completely different vibe, probably because it concerned Barbary pirates (Moorish ones), rather than those lovable pirates of the Caribbean.

The Barbary pirates stayed close to the Barbary coast, where they'd await their unsuspecting victim like a hawk (thus the name Sea-Hawk). They mostly relied on oar power, not wind power, to catch their victims. So there was no breathtaking unfurling of the sails, but inst
Jan 14, 2013 Phil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Sir Oliver Tressilian!" Killigrew gasped, and "Sir Oliver Tressilian!" echoed Lord Henry Goade, to add "By God!"

"Not Sir Oliver Tressilian", came the answer, "but Sakr-el-Bahr, the scourge of the sea, the terror of Christendom, the desperate corsair your lies, cupidity and false-heartedness have fashioned out of a sometime Cornish gentleman." He embraced them all in his denunciatory gesture. "Behold me here with my sea-hawks to present a reckoning long overdue."


I adored this book. Admittedl
Feb 05, 2015 Hannah rated it really liked it
Sir Oliver Tressilian is a Cornish gentleman who, having won himself a comfortable amount of wealth (and a knighthood to boot!) privateering for the queen, is ready to settle down with the beautiful lady Rosamund and live a life of righteous peace. That peace is somewhat disturbed when Rosamunds brother shows up at Oliver's estate declaring himself completely opposed to the marriage, on the basis that Oliver is a strong willed and bad blooded pirate. The audacity!
Oliver swears for Rosamund's sa
Nov 28, 2011 R.L. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First, let's get this out of the way: in real life, pirates are bad people--really bad.

no pirates

But in literature and movies, you can take something as reprehensible as piracy and turn it into something more, well, swashbuckling.

As is so often the case, our hero in this melodrama is driven to extreme by the faithlessness of the woman he loves. Among other things. In fact, injustice just keeps piling on until you just can't believe anything worse can happen to Sir Oliver Tressilian. In this regard, the bo
Mar 02, 2015 Russell rated it really liked it
I've only read one other book of Sabatini's, Captain Blood. I liked that one a touch better than this one. But not by much. Rafael Sabatini's writing is fast paced, full of heroes that are larger than life while still maintaining their humanity. Sir Oliver is just such a character. Sabatini builds him up, he falls due to his good nature combined with his faults and at the hand of his cowardly half-brother, and begins his journey of transformation. Along the way we readers are treated to brave ac ...more
Brilliantly written in deliciously old fashioned English, this is the story of a man wrongfully accused of murder. He is then abducted, sentenced as a galley slave, and then... escapes!! But when he reemerges as The Sea-Hawk, a Barbary corsair, the tale is far from over.
Sir Oliver Tressilian is superb - witty, passionate, headstrong, and complex. And then there's the fair Lady Rosamund - Sir Oliver's love. She very nearly drove me stark raving mad at one point, halfway through the book, with he
Caleb Rogers
May 22, 2010 Caleb Rogers rated it really liked it
This book hooks you harder than a tranny prostitute in LA is hooked on meth.

When starting, I was a bit concerned that "The Sea-Hawk" wouldn't be able to live up to its predecessor, "Captain Blood," and it first, it seemed like my fears would be realized. I don't wish to spoil the surprise, so instead: There is an amazing series of events, and suddenly, the book is transformed into a gentlemanly epic of torture, suffering, law, murder, women, and corsairs. Captain Blood for Arabia, one might thin
Jan 12, 2011 Alena rated it liked it
This was an enjoyable adventure, but not as engaging as the last Sabatini book I finished (Captain Blood). The pacing is a bit slow; there are long swaths of narrative where I felt like I was waiting too long for either character development, or action that was critical to the plot. Additionally, I didn't really connect with any of the characters. Their motivations were clear and believable -- Sabatini puts almost too much emphasis on the reasons they make the decisions they do -- but I didn't r ...more
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Rafael Sabatini (1875 - 1950) was an Italian/British writer of novels of romance and adventure. At a young age, Rafael was exposed to many languages. By the time he was seventeen, he was the master of five languages. He quickly added a sixth language - English - to his linguistic collection. After a brief stint in the business world, Sabatini went to work as a writer. He wrote short stories in the ...more
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“When all is said, a man's final judgment of his fellows must be based upon his knowledge of himself” 12 likes
“From somewhere in the blue vault of heaven overhead came the joyous trilling of a lark, from below the silken rustling of the tideless sea.” 1 likes
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