Sabatini, Rafael: The Sea-Hawk v1 9 jan 2009
It's my birthday today and I thought I could make a gift to myself and the community with this awesome book:
This has been one of my favorite books since I happened upon it a few years ago. I read it all in one sitting but I have not read it cover to cover again until now.
I was struck by the marvelous characterization, even the villains have a depth that is rather unusual in novels of this period. I was also struck by the intensity of emotion. This is what melodrama OUGHT to be but seldom is.
The hero (rather anti-hero) of the Sea Hawk is Sir Oliver, a Cornish nobleman betrayed or abandoned by everyone he ever loved. Framed for murder, spurned and insulted by his fiancee, sold into slavery by his half-brother, Sir Oliver turns inward and his soul becomes twisted with hate and desire for vengeance. And that's only the first half.
Sabatini should be commended for creating an understandable anti-hero. He should be given a prize for creating a heroine who matches him in intensity. Lady Rosamund is a rare creature (even in our liberated society) a heroine who is femine but with steel behind her smile. She is intelligent and alternately defends and accuses Sir Oliver with equal fervor. Even when he seems to be getting the upper hand and she discovers her hatred of him is unfounded, she remains brave. Marvelous!
It is clear that much historical research was done for this book and the quality of it shines through. This is the best book I have read about the Elizabethan period. (even though the last half takes place in Algeria)
For those who enjoy an old fashioned melodrama, look no further.
This is a special, edition, too, as it is FULLY ILLUSTRATED and features a beautiful custom cover by the one and only Ravenne.
Illustrations come from Internet Archive from a scanned PDF, text source is PG.
All together this is a great book and you really should add it to your library.
Happy birthday to me!