Posted by: vikingsinspace | August 22, 2011

VI.01.15. Read The Sea Hawk

Date Accomplished: 24 March 2011

The Sea-Hawk: The Writings of Rafael Sabatini Edition, vol. v

My Sabatini Journal

“He was at once a man of thought and a man of action – a combination as rare as it is usually deplorable.” (vi)

“Hell … was surely made for Christians, which may be why they seek to make earth like it.” (130)

“Words may be but a mask upon our thoughts; deeds are ever the expression of them.” (171)

“Have you ever … known a man to lie without some purpose?  Men lie for the sake of profit, they lie out of cowardice or malice, or else because they are vain and vulgar boasters.  I know of no other causes that will drive a man to falsehood, save that … sometimes a man will lie to shield another, out of self-sacrifice.” (258)

“Vengeance, sir, is the hollowest of all the mockeries that go to make up life.” (415)

The Sea-Hawk

After reading The Sea-Hawk again many years since I first read it (and have since become more familiar with Sabatini’s work) I was struck by how different it was from Sabatini’s other novels.  The story of the treachery against Oliver Tressilian and his desire for vengeance is not unfamiliar to the reader of Sabatini, but the course that brought him to his vengeance is: becoming a galley-slave and eventually a muslim corsair.

Sabatini also makes an attempt at archaic language in this novel that I don’t recall seeing in others.  While this is not his only novel in the sixteenth century, I believe it is the only one (that I have read so far…) that concerns an Englishman at the time (whereas the others concern Italians).  This may account for the consistent use of the words ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ that I don;t recall being so prevalent in his other books.

The Sea-Hawk is considered to be one of Sabatini’s greatest novels, and with good reason.  If proof were required, one need only look at the final sentence of the novel.


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