Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Captain Blood #1

Captain Blood

Rate this book
Short Description: Peter Blood, an Irish physician and soldier in England in the 1680's, is wrongly convicted of treason and sentenced to indentured slavery in the Caribbean. He escapes and becomes the most feared pirate captain on the Spanish Main, but all the glory of his adventures cannot help him, for the woman he loves cannot love a thief and pirate. Even when he destroys England's enemies, even at his most triumphant...but wait! What's that...

Long Description: Peter Blood, an Irish physician and former soldier is happily settled, in the 1680's, as the doctor in an English town, when the rebellion of the Duke of Monmouth catches him by accident. He saves a man's life, as a doctor must try to do, but the man is a rebel and the hanging Judge Jeffreys sentences him to ten years as an indentured slave in the Caribbean colonies. Once there, his knowledge as a physician is recognized, and thus he meets and falls in love with the daughter of the man who own his servitude; not likely to be a successful love story! A Spanish ship attacks the town, and while the Spaniards celebrate their victory he boldly steals their ship, and he and his fellow convicts sail off to become the boldest and most fearless of pirates among the islands and on the Spanish Main. But all the glory of his adventures cannot help him, for the woman he loves cannot love a thief and pirate. Even when he destroys England's enemies, even at his most triumphant...but wait! Is that... The classic novel of adventure and romance, and one of Sabatini's best.

236 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1922

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Rafael Sabatini

734 books488 followers
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 1890s, and his first novel came out in 1902. Sabatini was a prolific writer; he produced a new book approximately every year. He consciously chose to write in his adopted language, because, he said, "all the best stories are written in English. " In all, he produced thirty one novels, eight short story collections, six nonfiction books, numerous uncollected short stories, and a play. He is best known for his world-wide bestsellers: The Sea Hawk (1915), Scaramouche (1921), Captain Blood (1922) and Bellarion the Fortunate (1926). Other famous works by Sabatini are The Lion's Skin (1911), The Strolling Saint (1913) and The Snare (1917).

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
7,163 (44%)
4 stars
5,661 (34%)
3 stars
2,761 (16%)
2 stars
483 (2%)
1 star
174 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,083 reviews
Profile Image for Sanjay Gautam.
233 reviews444 followers
February 8, 2016

Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini is a riveting swashbuckling adventure novel which is very vivid in its depiction of pirates and their life at sea. It is not only a tale of misfortune, betrayal, treachery, and deceit but also of love, courage, allegiance, and friendship.

Captain Blood is the protagonist of the novel. He is a great man - a just man, with honor and integrity. Blood was a medical man by vocation who eventually, under desperate circumstances, turned into a pirate - that too a gentleman pirate. Peter Blood was his full name when he used to practice his medical profession. But a misfortune fell upon him one day - he was arrested for treason against King of England. He was tried in the court and was sentenced to 'hang till death'. But Blood's fate was better than this - due to some lucky circumstances he was sent to Barbados as a slave along with hundred rebel convicts. It was here when he met Arabella - his love. But again circumstances takes a swift course and he is forced to escape from Barbados. I don't want to spoil the plot, but it is from here he goes to Tortuga - the safe haven, an island, for the escaped rebel convicts and pirates. And from Tortuga start the the great adventures of the Captain Blood, which in no time makes him the greatest and the most famous Pirate (or rather a gentleman pirate) who has ever sailed the seas.

Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,516 reviews11.2k followers
April 22, 2012
Old School, feel good, swashbuckling derring do, performed with style and panache, and featuring a larger-than-lifer whose battle savvy and intrepidity are matched only by his integrity, his keen intellect, and his imperturbable grace.
Captain Peter Blood...is the MAN...and the myth, and the legend, and the whole kit and caboodle, and he deserves VIP seating within the inner sanctum of literature’s most memorable heroic characters.

No wonder Errol Flynn became a star playing this singular figure.

He’s everything the hero should be, and this novel is adventure as it was born to be done.

If you haven’t read this, do so.

If you have read this, may I suggest a re-read along while listening to the superb narration of Simon Vance, who performs the audio version to perfection.


Set in the 17th century, during the reign of James II, Peter Blood, Irish physician and former solider, is wrongfully convicted of treason for providing medical attention to a rebel combatant. Kangaroo courted and sold into slavery, Blood quickly finds himself in Barbados as the property of the malicious Colonel Bishop. From there follows hardships...injustices...anger...seeds of romance...escapes...piracy...battles and strategy and tactics...blossoming romance...betrayals...booty...revenge...more battles...friendship...courage...more battles and more betrayals...a reckoning...and a final comeuppance that will have you whooping and fist pumping.


I loved it and sprained my jaw from excess grinning at the pure joy wafting off the pages.

The writing is polished and absorbing and very clever. Foregoing any hint of pretension or the use of overly ornate language, Sabatini simply goes about telling his story, and he tells it with skill, with wit, and with an eloquence at which you can not help but be impressed.

The man’s storytelling is fluid and flawless.

In addition, the story itself is so wonderfully deployed. The plotting is intricate and nuanced, yet remains inclusive and engaging throughout. True, Sabatini’s characters are somewhat married to their roles of white hats and black hats, but this is hardly a cause for criticism in this kind of tale, and even in this regard, there are moments of shading where splotches of gray appear.

And, of course, there is Captain Peter Blood. An attention-captivating, envy-inducing, singular aggregation of that which is cool. Sabatini never angers or disappoints the reader with Blood's decisions or actions. Blood never plays the patsy simply because he’s the “good guy,” he never makes you question his honor, he never makes you feel a twinge of uncertainty at the rightness of his cause.

He is the consummate hero.


P.S. A big thank you to Richard for insisting that I read this, and hammering the order home by rudely sending me a copy. Well played, sir, you win this round.
Profile Image for Henry Avila.
469 reviews3,257 followers
June 11, 2021
Blood! Blood ! Blood! Captain Blood the fiercest pirate since Blackbeard (But Blackbeard was real and Bl... never mind) . After helping a wounded rebel in England in 1685, a bad decision always when on the losing side, however the future buccaneer was a dedicated medical practitioner, he will learn. Physician Peter Blood, an Irishman narrowly escapes hanging, when captured, treated very harshly though . Eventually sent to the British West Indies instead, as a slave on the island of Barbados dead men can't make money for the Crown. Peter was spotted by Arabella, the exquisite niece of the sugar plantation owner Colonel Bishop, who bought him and the games begin. Not liking the work he leaves without permission , not a grateful man with a group of friends, I must admit no gentlemen in the whole set. Before you know it Blood becomes a pirate of the Caribbean, the legendary sea thieves celebrated by some nations and despised by others. All depended on the flags of the ships attacked, no Spanish vessel is safe from these bands of marauders . Making their base in Tortuga a French island off the coast of Haiti and protected by them, for a share of the plunder . The Frenchmen look the other way, quite lucrative bargain indeed for a few killings. High adventures on the Caribbean waters follows as the ambitious captain, modeled after the notorious to same and brave, patriotic, noble to others Captain Henry Morgan, like many books about sea raiders. Magnificent scenes of ships battling, the action exciting and the gruesome carnage unending, both on land and sea the conflict brutal under the warm tropical sun
until the conclusion. You are there experiencing it, hearing the sounds of cannons roaring the smoke hiding the damage, feel the masts crumbling hitting the decks as the screaming sailors succumb...When his enemy the evil King James the Second is overthrown later, in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 the brilliant Peter, rather good at his new profession can go back home with Arabella, the lady is reluctant and needs a lot of persuasion... if only he can locate the buried treasure. Dig , dig, dig Captain...The Italian Rafael Sabatini was the best writer of pirate tales ever, many authors tried the genre but none could top the gifted man, his great novel a classic in this is proof of that undeniable fact,
he had an unique talent, love of the sea and fun doing them, it showed.
Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 3 books249k followers
November 1, 2020
”On the crest of the dunes behind them, in sharp silhouette against the deep cobalt of the sky, they beheld a tall, lean figure scrupulously dressed in black with silver lace, a crimson plume curled about the broad brim of his hat affording the only touch of colour. Under that hat was the tawny face of Captain Blood.”

Errol Flynn plays Captain Blood in the 1935 movie version of this book.

Doctor Peter Blood has settled down in Bridgewater to a quiet life of contemplation while tending to his geraniums when he is summoned to help the wounded rebels who have been fighting against the forces of James II. This conflict is called The Glorious Revolution of 1688, which might indicate to you who eventually wins. Peter Blood can’t care one whit about this civil war. He has had his fill of war when he served in France and would find war a frivolous pursuit if it weren’t so deadly.

While helping the rebel wounded, he is captured. Though Blood makes the case that he takes the Hippocratic Oath very seriously, the judge finds that by providing aid and comfort to the enemy much more seriously. He is sentenced to hang. His sentence, along with his fellow “conspirators,” is commuted to transportation to the crown’s plantations in the Caribbean. This isn’t leniency, but purely for financial gain. Why waste so much free labor at the end of a hangman’s rope?

Once in Barbados, Blood proves his worth as a doctor, which gives him more freedom of motion than his fellow slaves. The overseer's daughter, Arabella Bishop, learns of his plight and develops sympathetic feelings towards Blood. He and some of his friends escape the island and fall in with pirates. Blood is an intelligent man, and it doesn’t take long for his pirate brethren to discover his value as a tactician and learn to respect his courage. He is soon elevated to the captaincy, and thus begins the bloody reign of Captain Blood, held only in check by his own adherence to a conscience.

There are battles in this book described so vividly by Rafael Sabatini that they give me chills, but the moment where I felt that thrill in my stomach that sent a harpoon from my current self back to my ten year old reading self was this one.

”Levasseur, his hand on his sword, his face a white mask of rage, was confronting Captain Blood to hinder his departure.

‘You do not take her while I live!’ he cried.

‘Then I’ll take her when you’re dead,’ said Captain Blood, and his own blade flashed in the sunlight.”

Isn’t Levasseur a great name? There is also Cahusac, Hagthorpe, Wolverstone, Pitt, and one of Blood’s most ruthless enemies, Don Miguel de Espinosa. I love this line to describe Wolverstone: ”There was a great historian lost in Wolverstone. He had the right imagination that knows just how far it is safe to stray from the truth and just how far to colour it so as to change its shape for his own purposes.” Wolverstone is a storyteller, and Sabatini with that line also alludes to one of his own best qualities as a writer. He knows how to tell a story.

There is this great conversation at the beginning of the book The Club Dumas when two booksellers are discussing their favorite Sabatini book, and Lucas Corso declares his preference for Captain Blood. These are seemingly throwaway pieces of dialogue that probably don’t resonate with most readers, but it is the author speaking to a certain type of reader. Perez-Reverte is reassuring me that I am going to enjoy this book. The movie Ninth Gate is based on that book. If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, you really should.

This book is probably most famous for inspiring the 1935 movie starring Errol Flynn and directed by the Casablanca director, Michael Curtiz. Sabatini helped with the screenplay. I’ve not seen the movie in decades, but now that I’ve read the book, I certainly want to watch it again.

There is romance in this book as Peter Blood tries to win his way back to respectability so he could dare to hope to one day win the hand of Arabella Bishop. There ”’I do not number thieves and pirates among my acquaintance, Captain Blood’, said she.” It’s a dagger through the heart and I want to yell, Should he have stayed a slave? There are so many missed opportunities for them to reconcile as each misinterprets the other’s true intentions. The plot device of win the girl, lose the girl, and hopefully win her back is definitely in play. There are several moments when it feels all is lost, but the hardest moment is when Blood himself begins to believe that he can’t win. We’ve seen him overcome so much that we can’t hardly stand to see him so low.

I recently read Michael Dirda’s book Browsings, and he reminded me of how much I enjoy reading the books from the age of storytelling that spanned from the late 19th century and into the early 20th century. One of the many books he mentions in Captain Blood (1922), and I’m nearly tearing my hair out at the thought that I’ve never read it. How is this possible? Treasure Island, a book filled with pirates, was the book that made me a lifelong reader. I would have snapped up a copy of this book as a preteen and would have probably read it twice back to back, as I tended to do in those days with a book I really enjoyed. All's right with the world: I’ve finally read Captain Blood, and I fully intend to read other Sabatini books as well.

So there is some purple prose, with the best example being the use of the word empurpled. I found myself smiling as it continued to show up in the text. Sabatini didn’t have a computer program to tell him how often he used or overused a word. Another is irradiate, which had my modern brain thinking of nuclear exposure, but, of course, in those days the word was used differently. "Sunlight streamed down through stained glass, irradiating the faces of family and friends." I must say, though, that I now have a hankering to use empurpled in something I’m writing. Of course, it is one of those words that gives an editor a chubby as they slash it from your text. The audacity of this Keeten fellow to use a word like that!

This book stirred up a lot of memories for me of those many wonderful moments in my childhood when a book, like a tornado, swept me up and gave me dreams of an expansive, exciting life.

If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com
I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten and an Instagram account https://www.instagram.com/jeffreykeeten/
Profile Image for Orient.
255 reviews211 followers
May 13, 2017

I have read this book so long ago that I nearly forgot some events in it and to my joy, I was reminded about this great book while stalking awesome updates of excellent pirate captain Craig and wonderful pirate lady Dawn. Thank you :) This book was a great find after the torture in Black Company and I fell into a nice BR with Craig. What attracted me some years ago and gave me pleasant moments in the reread, is that the story is written in old-fashioned English and the pace of action is just fabulous. Alongside with beautifully written descriptions of people, nature and sea battles, it’s a great read :)

Characters. Remembering my first read of this book, I know I was stunned a bit as starting the book I imagined that I’ll be thrown into the harsh sea battle times from the very start and instead I found a kind and calm gentleman, smoking a pipe and tending his flowers, who enjoys his life as a simple doc. I know that back then I checked the blurb at the back of the book a couple of times, to see if I’m still to have some piraty read :) But…

'Life can be infernally complex'

17th century, injustice, war, slavery……that are the core factors to make life more complex to anyone. But this calm gentleman gets his share of various adventures, too. Experiencing all the struggle and making his new life aboard his ship, the Arabella, he remains true to himself, especially in doing the right things, protecting the innocent and helping others. Sometimes for too much as 'He's chivalrous to the point of idiocy' . That leads me to conclusion that “Captain Blood” is quite a predictable story about a great hero gentleman as justice wins after all. I view it as an advantage and a disadvantage at the same time.

I’m not a great fan of romance, especially old-fashioned dragging one, so I had a couple eye-rolling moments when reading the passages about the eternal love. This led me to another trouble I found in “Captain Blood”. A strong kick-ass heroine. I admit, Miss A is a strong female, she has great character features indeed, but what annoyed me a bit is that despite playing an important role in the story, she has only a couple of scenes for her personality to bloom. I’d have wanted her to kick some ass, make some plotting with unexpected twists. But I know that this book was written quite a long time ago, when kick ass heroines weren’t very widely incorporated into books :)

Narrative. Choosing a playdate with Captain Blood you’ll experience grand piracy, scheming, fab sea battles, near misses and some old-fashioned love. There's def a tasty treasure, a gulp of politics and a dash of romance for you in store in this fast-paced fun adventure. Mr. Sabatini really knows how to command words :)

'An intelligent observation of the facts of human existence will reveal to shallow-minded folk who sneer at the use of coincidence in the arts of fiction and drama that life itself is little more than a series of coincidences. Open the history of the past at whatsoever page you will, and there you shall find coincidence at work bringing about events that the merest chance might have averted. Indeed, coincidence may be defined as the very tool used by Fate to shape the destinies of men and nations.'

To sum up, I can put Rafael Sabatini books with such masters of adventure like Alexandre Dumas and Robert Louis Stevenson. I admit this author present the story in his own, different way but his sea adventures and awesome pirates are definitely worth a playdate.

P.S. I just loved and laughed hard when I met one character, it was a short acquaintance but really fun one.

'You said you vould show us zome vine dings. Vhere are dese vine dings?'

Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.8k followers
March 17, 2020
Captain Blood, scourge of the high seas!

Maybe 3.75 stars? This is a tough one for me to rate.

Peter Blood is an Irish physician living in England in the late 1600s. When the Duke of Monmouth rebels against King James, Blood wants nothing to do with the rebellion, but when he treats some of the rebels for their injuries and is caught by the king's men, he's sentenced to be hanged by the infamous judge, Judge Jeffries. His death sentence is commuted to a sentence of slavery in the sugar cane plantations of the Caribbean.

Peter Blood is bought at a slave auction by Colonel William Bishop, a truly horrible man whose only good points are that he lets Blood practice medicine rather than slaving in the fields (it makes Bishop more money) ... and that he has a beautiful niece, Arabella.


Peter Blood and Arabella get to know (and like) each other, but Blood knows that his position as a convict slave makes any relationship hopeless. He and his buddies hatch a plan to escape, but when a Spanish force attacks the town, it might just be Blood's chance for something more exciting and lucrative.

Captain Blood is a fine adventure novel, about a good man turned pirate due to mistreatment by King James, a hanging judge and ruthless slaveholders, but trying to keep his honor as much as possible. Because lurrve (and also because he's simply an honorable man). Lots of sea battles and romantic drama here. It reminded me a lot of The Scarlet Pimpernel, another old adventure/romance novel, but with more oceans and ships, fewer Frenchmen and guillotines, and rather better writing.

My big problem with Captain Blood is that there's just so much unexamined racism here. You have to take into account that this was written in 1922, but clearly Sabatini had a lot more problems with white men being enslaved than "negroes" - he never questions the latter at all (though granted, the novel is set in the 1600s), and the black characters are all completely stereotypical, mindless slaves, just background to the main story. It made parts of the novel tough sledding for me. You have to be able to give those parts a pass to really enjoy this novel.

March 2020 buddy read with the Retro Reads group!

Profile Image for Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ .
817 reviews617 followers
March 17, 2020

With the world in crisis, this is the sort of escapist reread I needed!

Unjustly convicted after the Monmouth rebellion for an act of humanity,Dr Peter Blood is transported to the Caribbean & becomes a slave to the cruel Colonel Bishop. The colonel has a lovely niece...

On about my tenth read I still loved this book, although it doesn't hold up to rereading as well as the author's Scaramouche did. The hero and heroine are both appealing characters I loved the physical description of Arabella - I could see her in front of me. So far all the Sabatini's I have read have given his heroines very varied descriptions.

While there are exciting parts where I could scarcely bear to put the book down, there are also parts that drag. Sadly the heroine appears only in Peter's thoughts for large chunks of the book. I knocked half a ★ off my rating, but keep in mind if you are more a reader of the historical than the historical romance genre things that bothered me may not bother you.

Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,144 reviews1,851 followers
May 16, 2012
Many of you who've read some of my reviews know that there is another Sabatini book that is a long time favorite of mine. But while this one isn't my top all time favorite it's still excellent...well, it's Sabatini of course.

Rafael Sabatini is one of the great adventure writers of all time (though it's not all he wrote, it's what we're discussing here). While the sea genre and the pirate genre in particular isn't one I routinely seek out there are books of this "type" I like immensely. For instance I'm a huge fan of C. S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower books. Here we're discussing Captain Blood, possibly the premier pirate novel.

The book was not at the time it was first written Sabatini's most popular though it did ride the success he was currently enjoying (having been popular in Europe for a while and then being "discovered" by Americans). The book is today possibly his best known work largely because of the 1935 Movie staring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland (justly by the way. This is one of those rare occasions when the movie comes close to doing the book justice. The book is better, but the movie is good. It follows the general story only collapsing one main plot point for time.) Today the movie still shows up regularly on Turner Classic Movies and is available to buy.

I think it's fair here to say that I can't recommend this book too highly. It's a good story told with a fairly solid historical background. If you've read Sabatini before you'll see some of the plot devices he likes to use, misunderstanding, judgmentalism backfiring...daring do.

Really this book has, "Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles"...okay no giants per se and no obvious miracles, but there are people murdered by pirates. From the word go when Peter Blood is taken and wrongly condemned to the very final climax of the book it doesn't often slow down to take a breath. You get to know the characters and the book is driven by both them and it's plot. Peter may be a bit of an over achiever in the story...but hey doesn't the world need some over achievers?

So grab those flintlocks, strap on your sword, rapier or cutlas and pull on those swash top boots. Time to open this book and be part of high adventure. Enjoy.
June 10, 2012
This is definitely a book to read if a reader likes pirate/swashbuckling novels. The setting, characters, scenes, and dialogue took me back to the 17th century in a time of political turmoil and wild seas and locales where the wars between countries play out in a very personal matter. And Peter Blood, the main character is one that claims your affection and doesn't let go. I sometimes find reading on the Kindle a chore, but with this story, I got so sucked in, that before I knew it, it was ending. And I had a smile on my face as I read the last sentence.

Captain Blood is not a predictable read, at least for me. I literally didn't know what was going to happen from one scene to the next. I loved reading about Peter rely on his wits and face each obstacle with courage and determination, always working towards the end goal, even when it didn't seem in sight. He is a charismatic character who kept me captivated, through his quick thinking, and his powerful manner of expressing himself. Although Captain Blood is a pirate, he is very much a man of honor, for his profession. He is, in my opinion, the preferred antihero. One who doesn't let go of his sense of honor, even if it doesn't necessarily follow the established rules. And because of that, I rooted for him.

The one part that didn't sit right with me as I read, was how a distinction was made between Peter Blood and the English captives sold into slavery and the negro slaves. As though they were too good to be slaves when the negroes weren't. I realize that it was the ideas of race at the time, but that doesn't make it right. Slavery to me is wrong, period. It doesn't make it more wrong when the enslaved is a white man versus a black man. I wouldn't presume to call the author a racist. I think he was painting a realistic picture for the times, and I can't fault him for it. I personally find the idea of racial superiority offensive, and it can slap me in the face even in the context of a historical work. Overall it was a pebble in my shoe as I read, but not so much I couldn't read the book.

Otherwise, I enjoyed this novel. I've always had a yen for pirate stories, and it's great to go back and read a classic in the genre. Rafael Sabatini is an author who writes this type of story well, so I'll be back to read more of his books.
Profile Image for Maureen.
213 reviews191 followers
October 29, 2012
oh heavens. i dislike admitting that am not 100% cynical about things, that life will all its ignominy and disappointments, vacillations and cupidity has not yet extinguished my ability to dream of freedom and unfettered joy, that there might still be a heart under all this bravado... but there it is, that little squeak that i cannot suppress. oh, captain blood! how you have undone me!

captain peter blood is a little wild. he loves the poetry of horace. he's sharp-witted, and impudent; a cunning strategist. he cuts a fine figure in black clothes and flashing eyes. he has the misfortune to lose his liberty for doing the right thing, and his heart to the niece of the reprehensible man ostensibly made his owner, a woman never wooed because she was too companionable and frank with men. he stands by his word and turns himself inside out to protect the men who serve under him and the woman he loves. to satisfy his unattainable lady's ideas of honour, he tries to give up the pirate life that was the only option left him, only to find that men pursuing outwardly honourable professions are in fact privateers in sheep's clothing. he is surrounded by hot-heads, morons, and avaricious s.o.b.s who somehow have the world in the palms of their hands and try as he might, he sees no way to escape his sorry fate. he decides to give up and get really stinking drunk. but then it all changes on a dime, as fate is wont to do, and he gets a chance to turn it all around . and so i squeak.

and should you fear that i have become an utterly romantic fool, i proffer this, in quick strokes: this novel is a boisterous tale set in the 17th century concerned with pirates and adventures on the high seas. the book breaks down into three parts -- the creating of a pirate, his success, and then his end. it's dated and contains some vile racial descriptions i could have done without (not from captain blood, thank heavens!) but the book generally reflects the attitude of the time, and while there is prejudice and nationalism rampant on the spanish main, the book doesn't dwell on it, and it is easy enough to acknowledge, disparage, and move on from this into the spirit of the book, and the heart of its protagonist, whose charms it's clear that i for one, could not resist.
May 22, 2012
This review is written to satisfy a group read in the Action/Adventure Aficionados discussion group.


The format fits the suggested format for discussion of this book. It may not be what you expect ...then again, if you read my reviews, you might like it better.

1. Plot/Storyline/Setting--was the historical flavor authentic?

The plot was more sophisticated than I had expected. The timeline was more complicated than expected to the point where Sabotini felt the need to come in and defend the way things turned out in his story because it involved a good deal of chance and luck. I haven't checked the history the history books to see how closely it followed actual events but I had the feeling that it followed actual events more accurately than most Rollins or Cussler books. There were parallels made by the author to Henry Morgan and even a case where Pitt, Sabotini's narrator, claims some things that had been attributed in the history books to Morgan, were actually Blood's exploits.

There were plenty of pirating adventures and misadventures. Blood and his crew were creative and interesting...on the other hand, this was also a love story, wrapped in an action adventure tale of pirates and privateers. The love story was sweet, joined with humor and a pleasant part of the story. It had echoes of Cyrano D'Bergerac, as our noble hero resigned himself to a loveless life if only his true love could be happy with another, safer man. Without the love story, this would have, one, been a lot shorter, and, two, the story would not have been nearly as interesting.

I liked the setting, though, as is in keeping with the style prominent in Sabotini's day, I found the details sparse and generally wanted more of them. Still, here and there, likely out of character for a book of this style and era, Sabotini gives us brief glimpses of the beautiful Caribbean, be it a sunset here, or the description of a fort there, even a swamp and tidal lowlands on the South American coast that are romantic, if only, gentle gusts of fresh air. Along with the puffs of wind, where I'd rather have a steady sustained gale or half gale, Sabotini likely gives us a very realistic vision of what life was like in the New World, world from the basic daily routine of a "slave-doctor" to the stockade where they lived.

I read the pirate tales and combat at sea segments carefully and I can see both how these skirt the truth of what pirate's taking plunder at sea was like and builds the swaggering image of pirates blasting it out with ships at sea as they take their prizes. Though Sabotini does not inaccurately depict how these things worked for Blood, but, he did not challenge them. He also seemed to steel from the Jean Baptiste' legends which came a couple hundred years after the Blood stories and about 300 years after Morgan.

Ya-know? I couldn't care less about that. This was a fun, romantic story about a daring pirate with a noble heart and a genius for applying common sense to combat at sea. He afforded us a very classic pirate tale, with glimpses of what ordinary life was probably like here and there and took a few liberties with the pirate reality because the pirate legends made for better reading. So what if most merchant ships surrendered to pirates without a fight, Sabotini avoided any direct challenge of that fact and told us a few wonderful tales of combat at sea with Spanish Galleons and French Warships or amphibious warfare against Spanish forts and cities. He wove a strong weave of clandestine of deceit with a flare for politico-social maneuvering as he had for the rapier like verbal fencing between Blood and Arabella. The plot, story-line and historical setting, as told by Sabotini through Pitt worked very well for me.

2. Characters

Captain Peter Blood - in an era that had just outlived dime store novels that romanticized characters like Billy the Kidd and Wyatt Erp Sabotini's Captain Blood is an almost Hamlet like character filled with a near constant internal conflict between his very human, anger at how he had been treated and his love of humanity drawn on so heavily as a doctor. Even as the human touch that told him "the right thing to do is treat this wounded man despite his being a rebel against the Crown and a criminal," showed that Blood's moral compass had, at least once upon a time, been set on ideals that came from a higher power than Man's basic instincts or whim of King and crony. At his lowest, when he finally gives into his anger out of a desire to be free, his honorable love for Arabella Bishop steps in and keeps his conduct in check. He chose ot listen to what he knew to be right, out of fear that he might do something that would forever keep Arabella at odds with him and stand in the way of any relationship they might forge.

Only in his darkest moments, after he believes Arabella Bishop's heart has been lost irrevocably to a man he believes to be an honorable rival does he find the ultimate truth "if you truly love someone, set them free and, if their love is as true as yours, they will come back of their own accord." (or, if you love someone, you are empowered when you are able to act in their interest, even if it is not in yours.) As is usually the case in fairy-tales as it is in life, such a "surrender" to "things that I cannot change" allows him to recapture his humanity for himself, independent of Arabella Bishop's love, and Arabella still comes to him proving yet another long known, but also long forgotten truth of human nature. Character counts.

Still, I find Blood and Arabella to be almost too hard headed for their own entertainment value. Still, contrary to popular belief, love, not transistors or plunder is more powerful than gravity.

Arabella - For a female character written in the 1920s about an era where, frankly, women mattered little beyond their dowry, and any linked titles that transferred with marriage, or as a trophy wife (their beauty) Arabella Bishop stood out as a strong independent character with he own distinct identity that did not define itself as a damsel in distress, even when she needed rescuing, or a pretty flower on display, even when talking about how attractive she was. I could see Lauren Bacall or Audrey Hepburn playing the role properly. Not that she didn't have her moments of weakness, where, somehow loving a man diminished her to a blushing girl in denial of her own feelings. Fairly enough, it seemed Blood suffered from the same weakness.

The Villainy - From the hot headed arogant French Admiral, to Deputy Governor Bishop, to the Spanish Diegos and the disgruntled French Pirate the antagonists were all very unique and interesting. We never learned as much about them as we learned about Blood and Arabella but they were more than the average cardboard cutout. The twisted politics of war made up the third rail of villainy as much as any character. Perhaps Ares, the fickle God of war came into play in an unsubstantial yet noticeable presence.

The Crew of the Arabella - We never learned enough about Blood's fellow pirates. Pitt and the old Gunner figured most prominently but even they only had slightly more character than the others and, like the others, functioned to validate Blood's true nature more than establish any of their own personality like the villains had. This meant that I wanted more information about them, but, since they functioned as one of Blood's appendages the focus stayed on Blood's personal conflicts, over love, resentment of the crown, man's inhumanity to man and walking the fine line between piracy and survival.

3. Theme

This story had some wonderful themes woven together in a tight braid. On the surface, the story seemed to be all about love, yet, even older than that, in story time, lay the story of how, under the best of intentions, inhumane practices, such as kangaroo courts, political grudges, slavery, savage, brutal desires for power, glory and revenge stood at odds with what is right and just. The story challenged the rights of one man, be he king, judge or deputy governor of Jamaica, or jealous lover to label, or stand in judgement of the "worth" of another fellow human being. At the heart of that conflict, came the confrontation between the truly righteous and the self-righteous, self-determination vs. destiny and the rights of a man to liberty and freedom vs. Slavery. In this story, might did not make right and the strong could not overcome the determined. The story allowed the reader to determine their own level of involvement. Those who wanted a simple love story, or pirate story will not be disappointed, nor will those who like to delve into deeper conflicts of morality and philosophy.

4. Adventure elements--successful or not?

As we found out when we read Goldfinger by Ian Fleming a couple of months ago, there has been a huge shift in writing styles in action/adventure novels. This book, like many written before a certain period (I estimate to be in the mid 60s to late 70s), relied more on narration than detail and discussion of situations rather than allowing readers to experience those situations as they read. So, compared to Clive Cussler, James Rollins or Matthew Reilly the action sequences seemed a little flat.

Compared to contemporary books written as late as the early 1960s the battles at sea that we did get to experience in this book had a lot more to offer and brought the tension in the story to a higher level than most books. The daring rescue of Arabella where Blood drove his ship between to warships so quickly that the crossfire did more damage to themselves than to the Arabella and other battles were creative and, appropriately humorous. I even felt the urge to cheer as Blood turned the tables on his enemies through acts of heroism, just being plain sneaky. More than the average book from this era.

That begs the question "is it fair to compare a book written in 1920 to a book written in 2010?"

I am notoriously inconsistent on this count. To me, that's a call best made on a case by case basis subject to my personal circumstances when I read the story and circumstances of the era the book had been written in, as well as the shortfalls of the era the story is about.

I'm not going to do anything substantial in the way of answering this question, but, I will say this. For this book, I feel it mostly should be compared to other books written in the same era. Therefore, this book should get high marks. Strangely, it's more then complex mix of themes, and character issues, like Blood's sense of morality (what's right) that seems to be the engine behind decision to dive into combat or to avoid it that makes me want to be consistently inconsistent here and rate this aspect favorably high (as compared to contemporary works).

5. Overall thoughts on book. Rating out of 1-5 stars or 1-10?

Overall, this was a fun book to read. I had to work a bit to get some of the humor and, being able to imagine it all as the movie by the same name helped with visualization when the story felt short a few details. Generally, compared to works written in the same era, for me, this story seemed to have more life and vitality than others. Overall, a worthwhile read that, for those who desire a deeper story than what's on the face of it, this book addressed some moral issues that inspired internal thought and debate.

Overall, on a 1-10 scale, I'd give it a 7.5. It's not perfect, but what book is? That's a 3.75 on a scale of 1-5.

6. Similar books you'd recommend?

If you even liked this book, "a little-bit" you'll love Ramage by Dudley Pope, Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling and, though it is not a story of pirates, it is a story with a swashbuckling hero, The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard by Arthur Conan Doyle (the latter being a personal favorite thanks to the "Thurber - like humor and witty story development).
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 28 books5,682 followers
July 20, 2023
You want pirates?! WE'VE GOT PIRATES.

I thought this was just a film vehicle for Errol Flynn back in the day, but lo, it turns out to be an excellent novel, written in the very early 20th century, but set in the 17th, about a young doctor, accused of treason, sent to the Caribbean plantations, who ends up turning to piracy. YES. PIRACY. Also, he's a doctor and pirate named Blood! (My mom's pediatrician back in the day was also named Blood. And her dentist was named Bones. True story!)

I really liked Peter Blood, I thought he was a great character: sassy, intelligent, and with a strong moral compass. And I greatly enjoyed the rom-com-like elements of his romance with the beauteous Arabella.
Profile Image for Phrodrick.
903 reviews39 followers
March 27, 2022
Is this the book that launched a movie and even some sequels?

Well Swash (smack) my buckle (Buckler, small round shield) if it didn’t! Raphael Sabatini the prolific author of numerous sword play novels authored Captain Blood. From it came at least two movies and one or two, follow on books. The eponymous Captain Blood (I keep using that word, I wonder if it means what I think it does) begins our book as a semi-retired adventurer, having resumed the career intended for him by his Scottish physician father, that of a physician. Presently practicing in a small town that is dangerously near a soon to fail rebellion against the King of England. Being a man of honor, he is caught providing life saving medical aid to a defeated rebel. For the crime of giving aid and comfort to traitors he is sold into slavery.

As a slave he becomes the property of the evil Col Bishop and his lovely, independent daughter. Instant enemy and love interest. The Evil Col. Bishop is a plantation owner in the Caribbean, placing us among islands, pirates and a selection of nations friendly and otherwise. Thus the stage is set. Where this is going has to be fairly clear, so the question is, will the ride, more technically voyage be sufficiently entertaining?

Just taking a guess, there is going to be some kind of escape, perhaps several, sea fighting, land fighting and treasure. There is a girl or two to be got. The convention for these things is that she may be feisty and independent, but she is just not going to get herself.

Our good Captain Blood is firmly in the tradition of gentlemen robbers and will become something of a sea raiding Rodin Hood. His band of men will have to be watched as our hearty Captain may allow for a certain amount of plunder, but pillaging the ladies will not do.

The name Raphael Sabatini is not well remembered. Several of his books made it into movies and his writing style emphasizes high adventure and the romance of the noble fighter. He was of a tradition of YA story-telling that played to young boys, white rather than people of color. The Spanish and I guess by association the Hispanic do not get much positive recognition. This is a romance and the code of honor demands respect for women. They are not exactly women of action, but neither are they typically fainting push overs.

Under the heading of a critical eye, Sabatini is better at the general concepts of land fighting and has an optimistic opinion of the effects of cannon fire at sea. His sword fights and battle scenes tend to be brief. Our good Captain Blood is a strategic thinker and tends to regard any action as a puzzle to be solved; if possible, in advance.

The best part of reading Captain Blood is following as he executes plans for a campaign or a solution to increasingly difficult confrontations and finds the way to pull victory from certain defeat. For parents not wanting your child to read about fighting, Captain Blood is more about using you mind, and using it critically than is letting lose the dogs of war.

This not my first Sabatini adventure. I have already loaded and begun my next. As he has a rather long shelf, that will be a place for future .. shall we call them Piratical Beach Reads?

Profile Image for J.G. Keely.
546 reviews10.2k followers
October 31, 2011
Reading Scaramouche is one of those odd experiences where a genre book really surprises you with its depth and complexity. It's a swashbuckling story with only two swordfights, where political theory, masked theater forms, and the science of fencing all take center stage, and where the hero is strangely shy, introverted, and reluctant. But Captain Blood never strays as far from its genre boundaries.

We still have a somewhat quiet, humble, over-educated hero (Scarmouche is the lawyer-turned-actor, Blood the doctor-turned-pirate), but Blood is less complex, less conflicted. His depressive brooding is not as interesting as Scaramouche's wry frustration, in part because it's less active.

In both stories, the movements of the plot are dictated by misunderstandings, things left unsaid, assumptions made too quickly. For the audience, it's more satisfying to see a hero who is angered by these misunderstandings, and who wants to change them, rather than one who simply accepts them and gives into his woe, being saved in the end only by chance. It's more interesting to see a character win his love than to stumble upon it after a sufficient length of hardship.

The plot is made up of the expected parts: mutiny, sea battles, daring raids, swordfights, and rescues. The book is well-researched, and the pacing isn't bad, but it lacks a certain depth. The world is not complete, it is a single view, with few insights or surprises, which is the danger of any genre piece that never strays from the bare bones of its form.

It's an exciting enough bit of adventure, with some thoughtfulness and characters who are not simple cardboard cliches, but in the end, there isn't much to it.
Profile Image for Warren Fournier.
602 reviews73 followers
August 6, 2021
"For we laid her board and board, And we put her to the sword, And we sank her in the deep blue sea. So It's heigh-ho, and heave-a-ho! Who'll sail for the Main with me?"

If you're in the mood for swashbuckling adventure on the high seas, or are one of those fans who have romanticized the pirates of the Caribbean as much as I have, it doesn't get more classic than Sabatini's "Captain Blood" from 1922.

At first I thought this would be a pulpy adventure more akin to the Zorro or later Tarzan adventures, but this was a surprisingly sophisticated historical drama with much to say about the nature of justice. Preconceived notions from paranoid administrations and mediocre leaders desperate to cling to tenuous power often create the very criminal behavior they claim to resist. In this case, Irish physician Peter Blood becomes the victim of the authoritarian power of a failing King James and his flunkies who see everyone in the Kingdom as a potential rebel or traitor. Sentenced to death in a sham trial for tending to the wounds of a Monmouth rebel, Blood has a stroke of good fortune when his sentence is commuted to indentured servitude on the island of Barbados where he is able to commandeer the vessel of a Spanish pirate and escape. Now an outlaw, his three years roaming the Caribbean Sea earn him quite the reputation as one of the most ruthless and cunning buccaneers, the scourge of Catholic Spain and Protestant England alike.

The character of Blood himself is a delight, but his transition from a witty and aloof dandy to hardened and competent warrior of the tropical isles is a bit abrupt. It is explained that prior to becoming a physician, Blood served as an army officer and was in a Spanish prison for two years, indicating that after being mistreated by his own government, it was natural for him to return to his former training and experience as a soldier to survive. But still, it is a bit jarring to have him tending geraniums and being quite content to keep out of politics and war to being the uber-competent legendary Captain of a legion of pirates.

But it is during his career as a pirate that things really get good in the novel. The action is non-stop and brought to vivid life by the excellent and elegantly readable prose of Sabatini. Blood serves as a dashing figure, doing his best to maintain fairness, honor, and justice despite his desperate circumstances. For all the killing and stealing of which he is guilty, he still cannot stand to see innocent people taken advantage of. In one crucial scene, he fights for the honor of a young maiden who has been wronged by one of his own crew:

"'You do not take her while I live!' (the cutthroat) cried."
"'Then I'll take her when you're dead,' said Captain Blood, and his own blade flashed in the sunlight."

That's some good Captain Blood right there.

This book is a gem that has given birth to many tropes that we are familiar with today regarding tales of pirates and raging battles at sea. It is sure to entertain lovers of classic literature of all ages.
Profile Image for Gary Inbinder.
Author 8 books176 followers
July 2, 2022
Sabatini’s swashbuckling romance, first published in 1922 is, in my opinion, the ne plus ultra of the genre. The story is well-known to anyone familiar with the 1935 classic film that made Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland stars. While a fine screen adaptation from Hollywood’s “Golden Age” the film doesn’t capture all the intricacies of Sabatini’s plot and the relationships among the several characters. Blood is a complex hero: soldier, scholar and physician, he’s a man of many parts.

“…Peter Blood, who was not only able to bear arms, but trained and skilled in their use, who was certainly no coward, and a papist only when it suited him, tended his geraniums and smoked his pipe on that warm July evening as indifferently as if nothing were afoot. One other thing he did. He flung after those war-fevered enthusiasts a line of Horace—a poet for whose work he had early conceived an inordinate affection: "Quo, quo, scelesti, ruitis?"’

“Where, where are you rushing to, you wicked men?” It’s the summer of 1685, the time of Monmouth’s Rebellion. The peaceful Irish doctor who is fond of gardening and quoting Horace in Latin, wants no part of an insurrection, but when he’s called to treat his patron, a wounded rebel lord, duty and honor compel his attendance. His “reward” for attending to his patient is a charge of treason and a death sentence that, at the last moment, is commuted to a term of slavery on a West Indies plantation. But audentis Fortuna iuvat. Fortune favors the brave. And as the wheel of fortune turns, Blood leads a band of his fellow rebel-slaves to freedom, then turns to piracy, wins fame—or infamy—, serves under two flags and three kings, wins the love of his former slave-master’s niece and, like the real-life Sir Henry Morgan, is appointed Governor of Jamaica.

Blood’s passage through life, while ultimately rewarding, is rough and fraught with peril. Sabatini makes the following comment concerning the operation of chance in his fictional hero’s journey.

“An intelligent observation of the facts of human existence will reveal to shallow-minded folk who sneer at the use of coincidence in the arts of fiction and drama that life itself is little more than a series of coincidences. Open the history of the past at whatsoever page you will, and there you shall find coincidence at work bringing about events that the merest chance might have averted. Indeed, coincidence may be defined as the very tool used by Fate to shape the destinies of men and nations.”

Profile Image for Susanna - Censored by GoodReads.
543 reviews604 followers
February 19, 2017
This is a swashbuckling tale, and if I'd been a teenager reading it in the 1920s, when it was written, it would have gotten at least four stars.

I have to dock it, however, for the persistent casual racism about the "negroes" with whom he is enslaved, and for the comments about anyone not English. It's mentioned as extraordinary that his father was not a drunkard, because he was Irish, for example.

This novel was made into a movie in 1935, starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, which is great fun.
Profile Image for Mr. Matt.
288 reviews82 followers
March 1, 2015
When I picked up this book, I originally failed to make the connection with the 1935 classic black and white flick with Errol Flynn. That lasted about half of the first chapter.

Captain Blood is the story of Peter Blood, a former soldier, sailor, and doctor who settles down to practice his trade in obscurity in Ireland. Summoned in the middle of the night to help save a wounded rebel in the wake of the failed Monmouth Rebellion, Blood is arrested for treason against King James. The trial is a perfunctory and he finds himself sold into slavery in Barbados. Afforded special treatment due to his skills as a physician, Blood and his fellow slaves escape and take up as Buccaneers - although not before Blood falls in love with the beautiful Arabella, the niece of his owner.

The remainder of the story basically recounts Blood's adventures as he is hounded by both the Spanish and the English. The Spanish because, well, that's where the money is and he's been raiding their shipping. The English because he humiliated his former owner who eventually becomes the Governor of Jamaica. It also, unfortunately, deals with the 'does he/she love me' relationship between Blood and Arabella. I confess that this type of stuff drives me nuts. Both Blood and Arabella deny their true feelings for one another but are oddly entranced by one another. They both draw and repel one another doing things that just made me shake my head.

All in all an enjoyable read. The language was not quite contemporary and lacked the crispness that I'm accustomed to, but that was OK. When it was good (mainly the scenes where Blood is being a rascal) the book was very good. It also offered a view into the world of Early Modern European politics - the end of the Stuart dynasty in England, and the recession of Spain as a world power.

Tree stars out of five. A fun book, but, honestly, it was kind of like watching the movie. I couldn't separate Blood from Flynn in my mind's eye.
Profile Image for Anna Nesterovich.
574 reviews21 followers
March 9, 2019
Captain Blood is a delightful example of a romantic story that is so refreshing! And by romantic I don't mean a romance, which it kinda is, but a book representing romanticism, though it was written some 30 years after the peak of the movement. It is, of course, naive in some regards, featuring a romantic and idealistic pirate figure, but it's not naive in a crude and inexperienced way. It's idealistic in a way of old stories with knights and ladies. It takes the reality and subtracts ugliness, showing beauty people should strive for.

The language of the book reminds me of an iron-cast railing: filigree, intricate, elaborate. Rafael Sabatini definitely knew how to use the full potential of English grammar. I had read a translation years ago and I must admit that the original is so much better. Reading it enriched my English considerably.

Besides, it provided quite a variety of topics for one of my family's favorite pastimes - kitchen linguistics. For example, I haven't known that numerals used to look in English the way they still look in German: eight-and-twenty instead of twenty-eight, just like achtundzwanzig. I'm still having troubles wrapping my mind about it and trying to imagine the thought process associated with this format. And this is only one example.

I read a few reviews accusing the book of racism and saying that there is too much of it for a book from 1920s. But they forget that the book is set in the seventeenth century, and though the character is purely fictional, a lot of the facts are not. The author follows historical events pretty closely and enriches the story with real events, sometimes setting them at slightly different times and places. And no, we can't really re-write the history. It was as it was, and there is no point in forgetting or denying it.
Profile Image for Linda.
331 reviews30 followers
August 27, 2012
The physician Peter Blood is unjustly arrested for treason under unfortunate circumstances, and sold into slavery in Barbados. In the beginning of the book, before the trial, he doesn't even take sides in the ongoing political debate, but the circumstances changes him. When he and the other slaves escape the sadistic Colonel Bishop, they are desperate and adapt to their new life.

Spoiler's alert!

This is pure entertainment, and I really like the main protagonist for his sharp-witted, arrogant and ironic manner and the way he treats his pompous superiors and other people of high rang who think themselves important. When he loses his motivation, when Miss Bishop calls him a thief and a pirate, the only thing which will set him straight is a condescending glance from the M. le Baron Rivarol, and he is back in business. If he is going to be a thief and a pirate, he is going to be an excellent one.

One minor problem I found a little irritating is that the pirate museum in Nassau states that pirates had a certain codex to follow, and that included treating women gentlemanly. Either Nassau has it wrong, or Sabatini had a strong imagination, because most pirates in the book, except the main characters, seemed morally detached. Other flaws I found bothersome was in some of the encounters at sea where the victories seemed just a bit incredible. A third thing worth mentioning is Peter's somewhat naive characteristic, but this latter complaint might be a rather good description of a man, whose destiny forces him to change into someone he doesn't want to be. Peter isn't fit for piracy, but with a dominant authoritative manner and brains sharper than all the governors of the islands, he succeeds, never-the-less.

Even though Captain Blood is entertaining and adventurous, it has other qualities as well. It describes the social classes and conventions of the time, as well as the less fortunate states. Slavery and piracy were just different sides of the coin of unfortunate destiny back in the 17th century, the one not so different from the other. Both are a kind of imprisonment and detachment from the world, and when forced upon you, it's already too late to do anything about it to justify or redeem yourself. And despite Peter trying to come back to a normal life, prejudices, greed and jealousy in other men prevent him from reaching that goal, until the last chapter. What saves him in the end has ironically nothing to do with a change of mind by those men, or some agreement between them, but purely that the political alliances of the Glorious Revolution shift, and Peter goes from traitor to respectable in a matter of hours. This emphasizes the fact that our perception of the world, our view of right and wrong depends almost entirely on our surroundings. Peter is the exception, but it's only because he is open-minded, challenging and without much prejudice. This reminds me of Edmund Dantès in The Count of Monte Cristo.

What I like best in this adventure novel is that Peter Blood maintains his honor, dignity and moral throughout the book, despite being treated unjustly, and that his strong-minded persistence pays off.
Profile Image for Amy.
2,636 reviews417 followers
July 6, 2018
A swashbuckling tale full of adventure and romance in the traditional sense, well worth being read alongside Kidnapped and Ivanhoe. I probably would have given it 5 stars if it hadn't taken me over a year to actually finish. That's mostly on me, though.
What's more to say? It was fun. It was adventurous. It was classic. It is worth reading.
I found the last third particularly hard to put down. Very engaging and suspenseful!
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
3,005 reviews10.6k followers
June 12, 2009
In this tale of swashbuckling adventure, Peter Blood goes from being a doctor to a slave to a pirate captain and beyond. It is the measuring stick against which other pirate novels are measured.

So why did I only give it a three? It's pretty slow moving. Blood doesn't become a pirate until over a third into the book. The writing style didn't exactly thrill me either. Other than that, I enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Ieva.
1,050 reviews80 followers
September 23, 2023
Lasu šo pirmo reizi un liekas, ka labāk būtu bijis, ja to darītu 10 līdz 16 gadu vecumā. Kapteinis Blads ir ļoti harizmātisks un pilnīgi noteikti to pats apzinas - un godīgi sakot, brīžiem viņa pašpārliecinātība nedaudz kaitināja. Nevarētu teikt, ka līdz galam sapratu Blada morāles kompasu - saskaņā ar to vienkārši laikam visi spānieši piedzima kā slikti cilvēki.
Visvairāk man grāmatā patika aina, kura ienesa reālismu - par slikto franču pirātu, kurā sākumā bija iemīlējusies Tortugas guvernatora meita, un kad viņš (pēc tās pašas lūguma) ieradās, izrādījās, ka viņai tomēr ir iebildumi pret vardarbību un slepkavībām.
Kopumā jau jauks darbs, kurā nevajag pārāk aizdomāties, vienkārši pieņem, ka esi labo pusē un izdzīvo piedzīvojumus.
Profile Image for Seon Ji (Dawn).
1,033 reviews227 followers
May 7, 2017

Fantastic read! I liked it better than Treasure Island!

I honestly can't believe this was published in 1922. ( In a good way.)

Not going into a huge review. Just want to say the writing was excellent for it's time. I actually felt emotions, passion...whereas others I have read from this era (1920's) seemed stiff and cartoonish.

Blood was an honorable Pirate and I loved him so much. ( I also believe the book is based on actual
events..or loosely based..not sure, not a history major)

Great history, not overdone, excellent battles and strategy and everythng had logic..made sense.

Romnace peeps:

Profile Image for Althea Ann.
2,233 reviews1,048 followers
September 26, 2013
I hadn't heard of Sabatini until quite recently, when I saw him credited as one of Arturo Perez-Reverte's major influences - along with Alexandre Dumas. That was enough to make me seek out a book!
This 1922 novel is the story that the movie starring Errol Flynn was based on - and it is indeed, as one might expect, a swashbuckling pirate adventure.
Peter Blood, an educated doctor with a military background, runs afoul of the law for giving medical aid to a political rebel against King James Stuart.
Condemned as a traitor, he's shipped off to the Caribbean and sold as a slave - where, of course, he chastely falls in love with his owner's daughter, Arabella.
His medical training gives him opportunities other slaves do not have - and when the chance comes, he makes an escape, seizes a ship, and turns pirate -
leaving his true love behind.
Many piratical adventures ensue, giving the book somewhat of the feeling of a serial - but enough of a plot runs through all Blood's escapades to tie it all together.
A fun, quick read, regardless of the novel's age - it's definitely withstood the test of time.
Profile Image for Vivian.
2,847 reviews398 followers
Want to read
August 31, 2015
My GR friend Evgeny so kindly informed that yes, this is the inspiration for the Errol Flynn adventure: Captain Blood. Sourcing my copy, now.

Profile Image for Jim.
Author 7 books2,041 followers
December 4, 2018
What a fun story! I was surprised at just how interesting it was for all its age & somewhat stilted language, but even there many gems surfaced.

There was a great historian lost in Wolverstone. He had the right imagination that knows just how far it is safe to stray from the truth and just how far to colour it so as to change its shape for his own purposes.

A fantastic & funny observation from the narrator who has told us several times that he is writing the history of Captain Blood. There's a lot of subtle humor & horror throughout.

It was instructive just how Captain Blood was born of circumstance. The injustices of King James & all the European powers was horrible to hear, much less live through as a pawn of such a corrupt, entitled system. It was an awful system where men were sold into slavery & the book referred to it as such even though the legal system called it by other, nicer names.

There were no explicit descriptions of pillage & rapine. Rather, it is conspicuously avoided in such a way that leads the reader into terrible imaginings. I'm sure even mine didn't hold a candle to what actually happened.

The romantic thread was as gooey as expected, but usually far enough in the background that it wasn't bothersome. It did play a big part in his motivations, though. Still, it didn't bother me much & I'm not a fan of them.

The ending was great. Everything wrapped up well & on a high note, as expected. Nothing wrong with that.

I'm sorry it took me so long to get around to reading this. "The Pirates of the Caribbean" owes it a great deal as do many pirate & war books & movies. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Metodi Markov.
1,344 reviews319 followers
February 7, 2023
Нещо не ми хареса толкова, както когато бях хлапе.

Доста схематични описания и герои, а и приключенията на капитан Блъд не ми бяха много интересни.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,083 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.