Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I selected to read this book after watching two movies based on this novel, the first is 1935 flick Captain Blood and second, best treated of Captain Blood story into Tamil movie Ayirathil Oruvan (1965).
Peter Blood, is a doctor who also served as a Soldier. Rebellion against King James was raging in the country while in the Town of Bridge Water on one unfortunate day a rebel Jeremy Pitt seeks Peter Blood to heal the sorely wounded Lord Gildoy. While treating him the army enters the farm and arrests the rebels and with them Peter Blood. Death penalty was given to all the rebels but destiny played its role and the King made is mind to sell the traitors to work in West Indies plantations as slaves.
On arrival on the island of Barbados, Port Royal, under the supervision of Colonel Bishop, Peter was also sold as a slave but his knowledge in medicine helps him to treat the Governor. He meets the charming Arabella Bishop who is the niece of Colonel Bishop. She becomes sympathetic after hearing the story of Peter. The evil treatment of Colonel Bishop towards the slaves make them prepare to escape from the island. On the day of their escape the Spanish force lead by
Admiral Don Miguel de Espinosa captures the island. The slaves escape and takes the Spanish ship, after getting his ransom from the Governor and Colonel Bishop, Don Miguel de Espinosa leaves the island but his ransom and ship were taken by Peter Blood and his men. Don Miguel vows to kill Blood.
With the Spanish ships and the ransom, Peter Blood and his men who cannot return to their home as they were proscribed rebels and also they cannot return to the island as they are escaped slaves turns them into sea pirates. Captain Blood named his ship as Arabella. In due course Captain Blood becomes the most hated and feared pirate in Caribbean seas.
One side the Spaniards Don Miguel de Espinosa and another side Colonel Bishop were planning to capture Captain Blood and end him. What happen to Captain Blood? Did he win the heart of Arabella? What happened to his adversaries Don Miguel and Colonel Bishop? All these sub plots are the remaining part of the novel.
I thoroughly enjoyed the novel, in some chapters I have to re-read as new characters enter. The witty dialogs of Captain Blood and the adventurous escape from the island of Maracaybo, defeating his enemies, using unorthodox techniques in ship fights are breath taking.
Below are some of the gems uttered by Captain Blood:
1. that he was a man of medicine and not of war; a healer, not a slayer
2. I regarded the adventure as a wicked madness
3. To succour a wounded man, as was my sacred duty
4. for bluff is a weapon dear to every adventurer
5. My business, my lord, was with his wounds, not with his politics
6. By trade I am a soldier—at least, it's a trade I followed for ten years. It brought me no great gear, but it served me better than medicine, which, as you may observe, has brought me into slavery. I'm thinking it's more pleasing in the sight of Heaven to kill men than to heal them.
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