Pulp Appeal: Rafael Sabatini
If you like high adventure swashbuckling romances but haven’t yet read Rafael Sabatini, you need to rectify that immediately.
Swashbuckling adventures have been popular with the general public for hundreds of years. Tales of heroic sword fighters in pitched battle against unbeatable odds go back quite literally to some of the earliest works of written literature, surviving in the tales of Gilgamesh, books from the Bible, and the earliest works about Robin Hood. These works really hit popular stride in the 1800s, particularly after the success of Alexandre Dumas (pere) and his d’Artagnan romances. But as much as Dumas placed a stamp on contemporary versions of the swashbuckler, it is a later writer, famous at the time but often overlooked now, whose works refined the iconic profile of the swashbuckler–Rafael Sabatini.
Sabatini was a native Italian who spent much of his youth traveling and attending school in Europe. He was a polyglot, attaining fluency in several languages, but most importantly English, because it is the language in which he…
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