Swashbucklers

... on land and at sea.



Bring out those rapiers -- et en garde!

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flag this list (?)
395 books · 389 voters · list created November 25th, 2009 by Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) (votes) .
115 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) 545 books
441 friends
Greyweather 2602 books
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Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 2896 books
700 friends
Gorfo 802 books
124 friends
Bettie☯ 14106 books
231 friends
Jim 2016 books
190 friends
Thom 6023 books
312 friends
Robert 302 books
58 friends

More voters…


Comments (showing 1-38)




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message 38: by Deb (new)

Deb Unfortunately I cannot add "The Sword of the House of de Marillac" (Amazon ASIN B000MRQM62) because this site can't recognise it. Pity - though I don't know if it would live up to my childhood memories.


message 37: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Dec 10, 2009 10:22AM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Doesn't seem to be in the database, that one.

The only book by Mr. Mawhinney currently in the database would seem to be "English Oak and Spanish Gold."

So I added it to the database.


message 36: by Mike (the Paladin) (last edited Jun 23, 2010 06:46PM) (new)

Mike (the Paladin) I love Ivanhoe, but he wasn't a swashbuckler. But then half the books on the list aren't swashbuckler/swashbuckling books.....


message 35: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed Mike wrote: "I love Ivanhoe, but he wasn't a swashbuckler. But then half the books on the list aren't swashbuckler/swashbuckling books....."

What do you mean by that ? Many of those are adventure swashbucklers.

I cant believe though that people added Sharpe books but not Hornblower. We two have to do something about that Mike ;)


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) The complete set of Hornblower books is on the list (currently ranking qt #17). Feel free to vote for it! :)


Mike (the Paladin) Come on...."swash buckler"... Swashtop boots, crossed belts...capes....not armor! Hornblower, okay, ya, but Captain Blood, Scaramouche, The Scarlett Pimpernel, these are swashbucklers!


message 32: by Mohammed (last edited Jun 24, 2010 03:55PM) (new)

Mohammed Mike wrote: "Come on...."swash buckler"... Swashtop boots, crossed belts...capes....not armor! Hornblower, okay, ya, but Captain Blood, Scaramouche, The Scarlett Pimpernel, these are swashbucklers!"

Hornblower does have some books that have alot Swashbuckling action,elements. I dont think the word stands for the actual meaning its just a word these days for historical adventure like the books you mentioned.

I agree many of the books in the list are not. Solomon Kane is the right age for historical adventure but its more horror,fantasy.

Too many books are there because they are famous historical books but they are not actual adventure books.


message 31: by Pat (new)

Pat Erwin I discovered Sabatini when I was about 12, and I was absolutely thrilled. I tracked down a copy of Zorro by McCulley a few years ago, to see if it was a good as I remembered - no, but I can still smell the hot grass coming through the window when I read it the first time. Shellabarger's Prince of Foxes was great as book, and as a movie with Borgia played by Orson Wells.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads I turned to Scarlet Pimpernel when I had a cold recently; for some reason when I'm sick I want the books my inner twelve-year-old wants to read. Enjoyed it thoroughly.


message 29: by Richard (new)

Richard I've always wondered... How do you buckle a swash?


message 28: by Mike (the Paladin) (last edited Nov 19, 2013 11:22AM) (new)

Mike (the Paladin) Well it can refer to the "swash" of a sword and the "buckler" used to block the blow (a buckler being a small shield). Later it also referred to the swirling shirts and vests that buckled and the "swash top boots" that also had buckles.

So...you can "swash and buckle" thus being a 'swash, buckler'. Or you can buckle the buckles on your "pirate/Musketeer clothes" thus being a "swash buckler".


My mind's a junk yard.


message 27: by Richard (new)

Richard Mike (the Paladin) wrote: "Well it can refer to the "swash" of a sword and the "buckler" used to block the blow (a buckler being a small sword). Later it also referred to the swirling shirts and vests that buckled and the "s..."

Wow, Mike! I'm impressed by this informative answer. Thank you!


Mike (the Paladin) Misspent youth....


Mike (the Paladin) I don't know if you noticed but for some reason in the original I typed that a "buckler' was a small "sword" I meant to type "small shield"...oops.


message 24: by Richard (new)

Richard Mike (the Paladin) wrote: "I don't know if you noticed but for some reason in the original I typed that a "buckler' was a small "sword" I meant to type "small shield"...oops."

I won't tell if you won't. :)


Mike (the Paladin) Thanks...it could ruin my rep.


message 22: by Richard (new)

Richard Mike (the Paladin) wrote: "Thanks...it could ruin my rep."

You might have to do some swashing to defend your honor.


Mike (the Paladin) Humm.... Haven't done that for years.


message 20: by Richard (new)

Richard Mike (the Paladin) wrote: "Humm.... Haven't done that for years."

Then maybe you need a buckler (lol).


message 19: by Mike (the Paladin) (last edited Nov 19, 2013 12:09PM) (new)

Mike (the Paladin) Naaa....over time I've become more of a "Have gun will Travel" type. I find that all in all I'm a better shot than I ever was a fencer....

Referring to blade work there, not building fences.


message 18: by Richard (new)

Richard Mike (the Paladin) wrote: "Naaa....over time I've become more of a "Have gun will Travel" type. I find that all in all I'm a better shot than I ever was a fencer...."

http://insidemovies.ew.com/2012/09/07...


Mike (the Paladin) Oh yeah, great scene.


message 16: by T (new)

T Moore Some great ones on the list above. Some not deserving of being on it either - as they are of different genres entirely. Fantasy, Romance and Alternative History are not Swashbucklers IMO Far too many of these on the above list.

I have read most of the true Swashbucklers on this list and many more not on this list that should be on it in lieu of misplaced others .

What is the best Swashbuckler. It depends.

The best "Classically' written to the definition of a Swashbuckler are the Adventures of Captain Alatriste series books. They are on center target for the genre (written by a known worshiper of the genre): they are intellectually fulfilling at the same time (with the quality research found in the best of other more serious historical fiction novels); they possess the requisite humor of wit and circumstance balanced against the mandatory lone hero's fight against those who abuse others and are evil; and they are all always, of course, cliffhangers. The great Sabatini and Dumas have lead us to Perez Reverte.

Note*** Sabatini's work is starting to disappear at the libraries - demand his return to the shelves.

As a stand alone Swashbuckler, for me, it has always been the Prince of Foxes. Perfection in the genre. Shellabarger's work is disappearing too. Sabatini's - "The Sword of Islam" is a must read for Shellabarger fans

My personal favorite Swashbuckler series ever is Dewey Lambdin's, The Alan Lewrie Naval series. Starting with a "The King's Coat" on through 20 more novels in the series> All are superbly researched and with series linkage in detail (without the being repetitive - the C&P feel). Over 7000 pages of it now and still going strong. He has put all Age of Sail writers who came before him in his wake. E.G. Forster, O'Brian, Kent and the rest of the fleet of the authors and characters. The books are swashbucklers with a more modern adult twist. The libertine Lewrie is the most flawed of all Swashbuckler hero's to ever take to the page. I have loved these books for 25 years now. A new one is out this month - O' boy!

Robin Hood books are all great, I wish, there were more of them - even bad ones.

The "Religion" is a modern adult Swashbuckler, And great one IMO. For the many who didn't like it, I can only tell them, they are reading the wrong genre (go back to your stuffy old moldy and fart stink filled room HF reading). Willocks has finally started writing again. Mattias Tannhause Trilogy continues with "The Twelve Children Of Paris" is out in Europe - Not in USA - and may not make it here given the publishing house turf wars... A double bummer, that

Enough past read ruminating for me now. Off to study up on the forthcoming MLB season. Baseball and reading go great together - like cereal and milk.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads You can, of course, add your own choices. (At the top of the list, at the tab next to "all votes.")


message 14: by T (new)

T Moore Susanna: Thanks. I get lost on this site all the time. They need a docent program to help geezers like me to figure it all out. A little buzzer that shouts, "HELP ME! I'VE FALLEN AND CAN'T GET UP!!!""

Plus, I enjoy commenting. It makes me read what others have to say about given reads and then allows me the opportunity to complain about it.

If MLB and reading are like cereal and milk, then complaining is like the honey on top for me.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Yeah, we keep telling them on Feedback that things aren't as obvious as they think they are, but they don't generally listen.


message 12: by T (new)

T Moore Susanna: What is this "Censored by GoodReads" note behind your name? Are you the with GoodReads police dept?

It comes off quite sinister, you know. Perhaps, that is the intent.

It works. It scares the bejeues out me. I keep looking over my shoulder while typing comments like this, now.


message 11: by Fred (new)

Fred Pruitt I doubt the biography of Howard Zinn belongs on the list. Perhaps you could replace it with Mistress Wilding? Or The Trampling of the Lilies?

To me, if a book doesn't compare favorably to Sabatini at his worst (The Shame of Motley, The Vicar and the Actress) it wouldn't belong on the list.

If something fits into the same category as Dumas (Three Musketeers, natch) at his best and Sabatini at his best (take your pick: Captain Blood, Scaramouche, The Lion's Skin...) then it's a treasure.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads It's pretty easy to add books to lists (at the top of the list, at the tab next to "all votes.")

The biography of Howard Zinn does sound a bit odd for this list - where on the list is it?

Anyone else think that should go?


Mike (the Paladin) No it's possibly just someone who thinks they need to "make everyone aware" so they seed the book on all kinds of lists. People do that on all these lists. The person who set the list up can edit it.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads No, I don't think the creator of the list can, unless they are also a librarian.


Mike (the Paladin) I don't know. I've seen it on other lists...but then I don't know if those happened to all be librarians. Most of the lists become pretty pointless after a while without editing. People fill them up with books that have nothing to do with what the list was about.


message 6: by Yuletidekid (new)

Yuletidekid T wrote: "Some great ones on the list above. Some not deserving of being on it either - as they are of different genres entirely. Fantasy, Romance and Alternative History are not Swashbucklers IMO Far too..."
I totally agree that many of these works are not swashbucklers. IO also concur that many of the greats such as Sabatini do not get any shelf space any more. I talked with a used book dealer and she said that she wouldn't buy my Sabatini books even in pristine condition.

Missing from the list is my favourite regency romance and pyrate (yes, with a "y") writer Jeffery Farnol. BLACK BARTLEBY'S TREASURE, MARTIN CONISBY'S VENGEANCE, and ADAM PENFEATHER, BUCCANEER are about as pure as the genre gets.


Mike (the Paladin) Of course there isn't room for Sabatini...you have to fill the shelves with books about sparkly vampires written on an elementary school level.


message 4: by T (last edited Sep 19, 2014 04:45PM) (new)

T Moore YTK: Yep, There are so many great swashbucklers that are disappearing - from decay (acid paper) and library's programs that round file books that are not checked out. Sad that.

Stuff like Leslie Turner White's The Highland Hawk or Lord Johnnie - swashbucklers for Young Adults - are now going away into the recycle bin of reading history - never to be read again.

I would make an exception for the currently being written and wonderful historical fiction mystery "Medicus" series by Ruth Downie as almost being fitting for listing here as a swashbuckler read.

Downie has had these books take on a cliffhanger aspect = page to page, "how will they ever manage get out of this one". They are almost of a swashbuckler bent and they have a humorous bent as well in her stories of the Roman Army doctor (medicus) Ruso (who has managed to get involved with the Roman Imperial security apparatus along the way) and his presumptuous and self assured British (his ex-slave) wife, Tilla. She fulfills the role of the doctor's swashbuckler-esque sidekick in the stories). I do believe, she has done this on purpose -duh!

The two are somehow always forced into discovering why the world is falling apart about them (often to save their very lives) and help save the day for everyone else too. Great dialogues, super characters (many returning), outrageous situations, male/female - husband/wife interplay and a modern day like twist within the view she presents to us of everyday Roman provincial life (this really works well).

They are a pleasure to read - often LOL - and they are exciting too. Downie has created a near perfect HF series here IMO. Give them a spin, I'm sure you will like them.

Thanks for writing a comment


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads If you want to add books that aren't already on the list, it's pretty easy - at the top of the list, at the tab next to "all votes."


message 2: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Garrison Great list! There's a lot of good ones there.


message 1: by Gerard (new)

Gerard Blalock This list has helped me find some books I'm really digging, especially some of the ebook-only ones.


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