Public Domain Books: Rafael Sabatini

Rafael Sabatini's Works
Dear Everybody,

Please read more Sabatini. He wrote over fifty historical adventure novels, and many of them are public domain.

They're written in an old-fashioned way that takes a bit of getting used to. His heroes are brash and they tend to have a dark, disreputable side. They have their philosophical moments, but they're always ready for action. The stories are often driven by the impulsive decisions of their protagonists, but even when these men make terrible choices they do it with style.

The heroines in an average Sabatini book can seem more like idealized symbols to be fought for rather than fully realized characters. Some of them are spirited, but others are annoying. I know this should bother me more than it does, and I often wish his women were more well-rounded or more deserving of the affection they seem to inspire.

But there's still something about his books that just do it for me. They have lots of historical details that keep the plots grounded, and intrigue is often as much of a focus as action. They're dramatic, well-paced, and surprisingly funny. There are times when I've had a few issues with the story or characters of one of his novels, but I've always found them enjoyable reads so far.

Sabatini's public domain books can be found at Project Gutenberg. Start with Captain Blood or Scaramouche, or maybe Mistress Wilding. For Kindle readers, I recommend the editions from this free set.

Your Friend,
Donna M.

photo by J. Mark Bertrand used under Creative Commons

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