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Rafael Sabatini (1875–1950)

Author of Scaramouche

160+ Works 6,890 Members 185 Reviews 33 Favorited

About the Author

Rafael Sabatini was born April 29, 1875 in Jesi, Italy. At a young age, Rafael was exposed to many languages, and attending school in Portugal and, as a teenager, in Switzerland. By the time he was seventeen, when he went to England to live permanently, he could speak five languages. He quickly show more added English and chose to write in his adopted language, because, he said, "all the best stories are written in English." 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. It took Sabatini almost a quarter of century before he attained success with Scaramouche in 1921. It became an international best-seller. Captain Blood followed in 1922 and was equally as successful. Sabatini was a prolific writer; he produced a new book approximately every year. While he would never achieve the success of Scaramouche and Captain Blood, Sabatini still maintained a great deal of popularity with the reading public through the decades that followed. By the 1940s, illness forced the writer to slow his prolific method of composition. However, he did write several additional works even during that time. His body of work consists of 31 novels, 8 short story colections and 6 books of poetry. He died February 13, 1950 in Switzerland. He is buried at Adelboden, Switzerland. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
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Works by Rafael Sabatini

Scaramouche (1921) 1,734 copies
Captain Blood (1922) 1,673 copies
The Sea-Hawk (1915) — Author — 627 copies
Captain Blood Returns (1931) 170 copies
The Black Swan (1932) 141 copies
The Life of Cesare Borgia (1912) 136 copies
Mistress Wilding (1910) 126 copies
Bardelys the Magnificent (1905) 110 copies
The Tavern Knight (1904) 106 copies
Bellarion (1926) 103 copies
St. Martin's Summer (1909) 84 copies
Fortune's Fool (1923) 81 copies
Captain Blood [1935 film] (1935) — Author — 74 copies
The Snare (1917) 74 copies
Master-At-Arms (1940) 73 copies
Scaramouche the King-Maker (1931) 72 copies
The Hounds of God (1928) 65 copies
The Carolinian (1924) 61 copies
The Lion's Skin (1911) 61 copies
The Banner of the Bull (1915) 60 copies
The Lost King (1937) 57 copies
Venetian Masque (1934) 56 copies
Love-at-Arms (1907) 54 copies
The Trampling of the Lilies (1906) 52 copies
The Shame of Motley (1908) — Author — 51 copies
The King's Minion (1930) 51 copies
The Sword of Islam (1939) 46 copies
The Romantic Prince (1929) 43 copies
Chivalry (1935) 36 copies
King in Prussia (1944) 33 copies
The Gates of Doom (1914) 33 copies
The Gamester (1949) 33 copies
The Stalking Horse (1933) 29 copies
Scaramouche [1952 film] (2000) — Original novel — 27 copies
The Nuptials of Corbal (1927) 24 copies
Columbus (1940) 24 copies
The Suitors of Yvonne (1902) 21 copies
A Century of Sea Stories (1935) 17 copies
Turbulent Tales (1946) 12 copies
Justice Of The Duke (1900) 7 copies
Heroic lives; (1934) 4 copies
The Red Mask 4 copies
The reaping (1929) 4 copies
Tartuffe (2015) 2 copies
Pavillon noir (1994) 2 copies
The Word of Borgia (2016) 2 copies
Lásky kapitána Blooda (1992) 2 copies
Saga of the Sea 2 copies
Scaramouche Livro 1 (1991) 1 copy
Havr̜nen 1 copy
The Treasure Ship (2004) 1 copy
Suurepärane bardelys (2005) 1 copy
Kuningattaren lähetti (1973) 1 copy
Paola (1970) 1 copy
Wirgman's Theory (2014) 1 copy
El favorito 1 copy
El príncipe romantico (1975) 1 copy

Associated Works

The Big Book of Adventure Stories (2011) — Contributor — 112 copies
Murder Most Scottish (1656) — Contributor — 93 copies
The Oxford Book of Historical Stories (1994) — Contributor — 40 copies
The Black Swan [1942 film] (1942) — Original novel — 37 copies
Great English Short Stories (1930) — Contributor — 20 copies
Fifty Strangest Stories Ever Told (1937) — Contributor — 8 copies
Christopher Columbus [1949 film] (2011) — Original novel — 5 copies
The book of the sea trout (1917) — Editor — 5 copies
Fisherman's pie : an angling symposium (1926) — Introduction — 3 copies
Adventure Tales #7: Classic Tales from the Pulps (2014) — Contributor — 2 copies
Adventure, June 3, 1921 (1921) — Contributor — 2 copies
Ellery Queen's 1966 Anthology — Contributor — 1 copy
Adventure [Vol. 3 No. 2, December 1911] (1911) — Contributor — 1 copy


17th century (56) 18th century (52) 20th century (87) adventure (606) anthology (32) biography (33) British (34) Caribbean (37) classic (85) classics (116) ebook (98) England (44) fiction (967) France (95) French Revolution (117) hardcover (48) HC (33) historical (195) historical fiction (631) historical novel (72) history (67) Italy (38) Kindle (91) literature (94) Loft A (60) mystery (45) novel (128) own (48) pirates (255) pjk (40) Rafael Sabatini (49) Raphael Sabatini (38) read (108) romance (139) sabatini (53) short stories (91) swashbuckler (74) swashbuckling (112) to-read (537) unread (98)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Sabatini, Rafael
Date of death
Burial location
Adelboden, Switzerland
Italy (birth)
UK (naturalization)
Jesi, Italy
Place of death
Adelboden, Switzerland
Places of residence
Iesi, Italy
Lancashire, England, UK
Porto, Portugal
Zug, Switzerland
Liverpool, England, UK
London, England, UK (show all 8)
Hay-on-Wye, Powys, Wales, UK
Adelboden, Switzerland
short-story writer
historical novelist
intelligence agent
Stuart, Hamish (friend)
Short biography
"He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad," describes Sabatini's most famous character, Scaramouche, and perhaps the author himself. His works were an international success in his own time and are still popular. Best known are his swashbucklers -- many of whom have been made into films -- and his books about Cesare Borgia.



Not bad, reminiscent of Dumas but not as good. Andre-Louis's adventures across revolutionary France were interesting, but the ending was fairly predictable. The villain turned out to be a little more human than we had been led to believe, which was a bit of a surprise, but I guessed early on the role he would play in Andre's life. The absolute self-centeredness of of the aristocracy is well-portrayed, but the characters felt a bit flat. Partly that's due to the omniscient viewpoint, but Dickens did that and his characters spring off the page.

Sabatini leans into the Scaramouche trope, a stock character in traveling troupes of the time, perhaps too much as Andre is also kind of a stock character. The story kept my interest but didn't deliver the excitement of Dumas.
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TheGalaxyGirl | 54 other reviews | Jan 22, 2024 |
This books was incredibly frustrating as the protagonist, Andre-Louis Moreau, is the definition of a Marty Stu. He's good at everything. He's super charming, so when he makes a bunch of very wrong assumptions, he's immediately forgiven. Everyone loves him, and every woman fell in love with him. On top of this, he refuses to help his friends save their friends from getting massacred in duels until he personally benefits from these encounters, even though he's the best fencer in the city. He is the definition of male privilege! Sabatini's novels are typically like this, but he usually offsets his perfect characters with descriptive prose regarding battles and genuinely clever plots to cheat the enemy that it becomes more amusing. Also, usually his male characters have at least one fault. AL's only fault was revealed at the end, and it was that he was a coward (which he is): he runs away from everything, but he's still celebrated as some sort of hero.

AL gets his cake and eats it too. He goes around as a republican, touting how people born into privilege shouldn't run the country or be considered great just because of their birth. While we agree with these sentiments now, that wasn't the case back then. Back then, these republicans were stealing the aristocrats of their land, homes, and their way of life. Not only that but what followed was the French Revolution, and we know how much of a mess that was. To the old-timers, the republicans had brought hellfire down on everyone. YET, at the end of the novel, AL gets the girl of his dreams and lives with his RICH AF family, completely forgiven! Seriously?!

Not only that, but the aristocrats were more likable in general. Yes, they were overpowered, but they had more heart. They looked out for each other. Granted, their friends and family have more resources than servants, but they seem to genuinely care about each other, even when they've hurt each other. AL always assumed he was right and would break his own principles for personal gain and never had an existential crisis about it. In contrast, Azyr was a terrible person, but he tried to atone for his mistakes, and he fought for what was his, while AL let himself get chased out of multiple towns. Azyr's behavior makes sense based on the ideologies he grew up with while AL is just an entitled jerk. The former is sympathetic while the latter is not.

In the end, AL changed society enough that he always ended on top, even though everyone else lost their homes, friends, and everything they owned. He might've lost some things in the process, but his mentality and heartlessness prevented him from caring. As a result, I didn't care about him or for this book.

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readerbug2 | 54 other reviews | Nov 16, 2023 |
Sabatini novels are just so fun. The exploits are daring. The heroes are dashing, and the women bring a fresh dimension and a sweet romance. This book has everything, and is a great, relaxing read.

It's hard to write engaging action scenes, but Sabatini's are always exciting. There are naval battles, sword fights, and battles of wit that keep the reader on their toes. The hero, Charles de Bernis, is a cocky yet brilliant buccaneer. Sabatini's heroes tend to be good at everything, so they can come off as a bit Marty Stu, but this didn't bother me about de Bernis. While he was daring and charming, he seemed realistic. The stakes were believably high, and I think that was largely in part due to the presence of Priscilla. Everything de Bernis did was for her safety, and his anxieties for her (initially chivalric but later romantic) humanized him because they showed his vulnerable side.

This review comes on the heels of my second time reading this book, and I picked up on things I had missed previously. Most notably was the character of Priscilla. We meet her lounging upon a daybed onboard a ship bound for England. She is wealthy and spoiled, but not mean. Over the course of the novel, she grows into a self-sufficient woman who both balances out her romantic partner and complements him. She has a lot more agency than I remembered, which I enjoyed reading about. She does need saving from time to time, but this is a book written in the 1920s about the eighteenth century, so it's in keeping with the time period. Astute yet quiet, Priscilla is a likable heroine because she neither simpers nor faints too often but rather faces danger head on.

If you're looking for a light read about pirates with an authentic feel yet uncomplicated characters, then I recommend this book. You can't go wrong with Sabatini, in general, but this book is one of my favorites of his.
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readerbug2 | 3 other reviews | Nov 16, 2023 |
A young lawyer, with good reflexes passes from being a cynical demagogue to a strolling actor, and finally a respected member of the French refugee community in England during the upheavals of the French revolution. It is a passable entertainment which maintained the author's income.
DinadansFriend | 54 other reviews | Sep 22, 2023 |



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