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The Black Swan

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  338 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
When Priscilla Harradine travels back to England accompanied by the rather dull Major Sands, she has no cause to expect her journey will be anything other than uneventful. But also on board the Centaur is Charles de Bernis - a mysterious and intriguing buccaneer. Just as their friendship is beginning to blossom, a dark figure from de Bernis' past emerges to propel them int ...more
Hardcover, 311 pages
Published October 31st 2007 by Amereon Limited (first published 1931)
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Aug 24, 2011 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure, sabatini
When Priscilla Harradine meets buccaneer Charles de Bernis on the ship that's carrying her back to England, the appearance of a notorious pirate puts her safety entirely in the hands of her new acquaintance.

There are some well-described fights, but the tension in this one comes as much from the suspense and uncertainty of the situation as from typical pirate story action. Sabatini achieves this by giving us more pages from the heroine's point of view than many of his other books include, and eve
Mar 13, 2012 Ang rated it really liked it
Ahhh...the good old days when women won the hearts of men with femininity and brains (not half naked bodies and slutty come-ons). Life was just as real, intense and dangerous or more so. I love reading books that have wonderful characters and great story lines. Wish there was more of these "old-fashioned" stories being written in contemporary novels.
Elliot Jackson
Dec 24, 2015 Elliot Jackson rated it really liked it
Well, "The Black Swan" has all the strengths of a typical Sabatini novel...suave, sardonic hero and feisty, forthright heroine...enough buffoons and villains to act as foils...decently-paced and inventive plot...and great language (English was, like, Sabatini's 6th or 7th language, man, and he's STILL more at home in it than most of us native-born speakers. I'm telling ya, it just ain't fair).

That being said, "The Black Swan" is no "Captain Blood," but it tries to be, down to the pirates and th
Feb 18, 2016 Antje rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: maritimes, prose
An Rafael Sabatinis Piratenroman "Captain Blood" schafft es "Der schwarze Schwan" bei weitem nicht heran. Leider! Es fehlt dem Roman einfach an Spritzigkeit und Würze. Die Handlung bleibt gerade einmal so spannend, dass man weiterliest, obwohl die Charaktere - egal ob Piratenkapitän Tom Leach, sein Gegenspieler Charles de Bernis, Major Sand oder Miss Priscilla Harradine - fad und irgendwie gekünstelt wirken. Dadurch die Hauptakteure den größten Teil der Geschichte auf der Insel Matilda verbringe ...more
Jul 10, 2010 Yune rated it it was ok
The usual level of entertainment from Sabatini, this time as a buccaneer schemes how to keep a governor's daughter out of the clutches of a pirate (yes, there's a difference). Less in the way of involved intrigue or even high-octane action, since for much of the story they're all hanging out on an island in purported alliance. Still fun if you like your good and evil monochrome and your characters much much in archetype.
Randy M.
May 20, 2014 Randy M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not an aficionado of pirate lore, and beyond the Robert Louis Stevenson classics I have not delved into this genre much at all. However, I do enjoy historical fiction and adventure, and pirates fit the bill on both counts. So, for no particular reason beyond that, I decided to read The Black Swan. This is my first encounter with Rafael Sabatini, who I know is a much respected author of many other classics of adventure.

If you are looking for an over the top, roller coaster ride of pirate exp
Julie Welch
Aug 25, 2014 Julie Welch rated it really liked it
This was my maiden voyage with Sabatini. I sought this novel out after watching the 1942 movie adaptation (which goes way off the plot, btw). I had heard that this book was a "lighter read" than some of his others, and I don't often read romantic plot tones written by men, so I was intrigued. I felt the male characters were very clearly drawn, maybe more so than the heroine, but all flowed together nicely. The language usage was beautiful, and the ending did not disappoint. I see more Sabatini t ...more
Nov 21, 2011 Pandora rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult, sabatini
I decided to read this after watching The Black Swan (Tyrone Powers - pirates not Natalie Portman and tutus). Both the movie and book were very good but, had little in common beyond a boat named The Black Swan, a evil Captain Leach, a girl, a charming French pirate, and a floppish Englishman. This suprised me at first but, then I settled down and enjoyed the story.

One of the charms of the book is the heroine is one of Sabatini's stronger heroines. Akin more to the heroine of Scaramouch and The L
Aug 21, 2012 Natalie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012-books
This book is as enjoyable as Sabatini's other better-known novels. The plot isn't quite as intricate, but thoroughly entertaining as we follow a young girl, Priscilla, traveling to England who finds herself in the company of one pirate on board their ship as a passenger only for both of them to be captured by another. Her only choice is but to trust the wit and daring of the handsome French buccaneer Charles de Bernis to free them from Tom Leach's brutal grasp. Not only is this a great enjoyable ...more
Feb 19, 2012 Jmassa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solid, enjoyable swashbuckler by one of the masters of the pirate-fiction trade.

The action and adventure did not disappoint. But, never having read Sabatini before, I was surprised by the focus on finely-drawned characterization and the dry, rather complex prose. To wit:

Every man's life is based upon his own experiences. Like drawing like unto its intimacies, the vile man meets only vileness and therefore accounts the world vile...

As you can see, here is no pound-out-the-purple-prose guy, like,
Munira Tabassum
Jun 15, 2015 Munira Tabassum rated it it was amazing
It was really good.I had amazing time reading it. If you are a lover of old knights tales and perfect gentleman,read it!
Jan 26, 2016 Jen rated it liked it
I enjoyed this story but it wasn't as good as some of his others. Read Captain Blood or Scaramouche first.
Apr 30, 2009 Bill rated it liked it
I am very happy, after several years collecting old library copies of Sabatini's works, to see a publisher putting out as many of his lesser known and out of print books. In some ways, it's not helping to read so many of these so closely together, as the Sabatini Plot and Sabatini Characters start to blend together. They are much of the same cloth. But the delight of his breadth of historical location, and the fun of his plots, always drawing their drive from well-researched historical possibili ...more
Jan 19, 2015 Bettie☯ rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Sylvester, Kaethe
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Wanda
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 31, 2013 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
A very simple pirate adventure. There are no subplots, and the characters don't evolve. It felt almost like a play: one hero, one lady, one annoying side character there to make the hero look good, and one villain. All of the other characters are just bit parts that come and go. It would be a light read if it wasn't so heavily laden with archaic and uncommon words (...which may actually be my favorite feature of the book!). Overall, I'd recommend it to a friend. It's a fun read.
Jan 12, 2010 Haley rated it liked it
Good ole pirate adventure stories... how I love thee! This one was sort of similar to a lot of his other ones, but it had some different things in it as well. I liked it just the same and I liked it for the same reasons I always like Rafael Sabatini books: they are just fun adventure stories.
Jorgen Schäfer
Jan 19, 2012 Jorgen Schäfer rated it really liked it
Shelves: pirates
Ein weiterer genrebegründender Roman von Sabatini. Mit etwas mehr Fokus auf die Liebesbeziehung als Captain Blood trotzdem ein wundervoller Roman für alle Piratenfreunde. Yarr!
Oct 20, 2012 Carmelina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
This is the first book of Rafael Sabatini I read and thoroughly enjoyed it. I couldn't put it down. I love it when characters are so well written that you can picture them so clearly in your mind.
Mark Polino
Sep 23, 2011 Mark Polino rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2011
Good. Not great. There are elements of Captain Blood in here but The Black Swan almost felt like a short story extended to novel length.
Feb 05, 2011 Chet rated it it was amazing
Pure swashbuckling pleasure reading. I can't get enough of a good Sabatini novel, and this was one of the best!
May 17, 2008 Barbara rated it really liked it
Ah, more pirates. Not quite as good as Captain Blood, IMHO, but worth a read if you love swashbucklers.
I'm such a sucker for classic, strong, clever masculine heroes paired with intelligent heroines. :)
Maria S
Nov 04, 2013 Maria S rated it it was amazing
Excellent I need to find more books by Sabatini!!
Patricia Reddy
May 12, 2013 Patricia Reddy rated it really liked it
Excellent maritime tale. Notable vocabulary
Dec 02, 2013 Will rated it really liked it
Very solid Sabatini. Great cruise book.
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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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