Rafael Sabatini (1875-1950) was an incredibly prolific writer of novels, short stories and nonfiction works. Even people who think they’ve never heard of him may well be familiar with the movie versions of some of his writings: Captain Blood, Scaramouche, The Sea Hawk and The Black Swan.
THE SEA HAWK (1915) – In the late 16th Century, English gentleman Sir Oliver Tressilian is betrayed into galley slavery by his jealous half-brother Lionel. After a time, the galley on which Oliver has been condemned to serve as an oarsman is raided by Barbary Corsairs in the Mediterranean Sea.
Our main character and other survivors of the pirate attack are given the usual “convert or die” ultimatum by their Muslim captors, and the embittered Sir Oliver is content to embrace Islam and serve as a corsair himself. His leadership abilities and seafaring savvy let him rise to command of his own pirate ship and he becomes infamous as Sakr-el-Bahr, the Hawk of the Sea. Continue reading