Captain Blood (novel)
|Captain Blood: His Odyssey|
1922 dust jacket cover
|Publisher||Houghton Mifflin Company|
The protagonist is the sharp-witted Dr. Peter Blood, a fictional Irish physician who had had a wide-ranging career as a soldier and sailor (including a commission as a captain under the Dutch admiral De Ruyter) before settling down to practice medicine in the town of Bridgwater in Somerset.
The book opens with him attending to his geraniums while the town prepares to fight for the Duke of Monmouth. He wants no part in the rebellion, but while attending to some of the rebels wounded at the Battle of Sedgemoor, Peter is arrested. During the Bloody Assizes, he is convicted by the infamous Judge Jeffreys of treason on the grounds that "if any person be in actual rebellion against the King, and another person—who really and actually was not in rebellion—does knowingly receive, harbour, comfort, or succour him, such a person is as much a traitor as he who indeed bore arms."
The sentence for treason is death by hanging, but King James II, for purely financial reasons, has the sentence for Blood and other convicted rebels commuted to transportation to the Caribbean, where they are to be sold into slavery.
Upon arrival on the island of Barbados, he is bought by Colonel Bishop, initially for work in the Colonel's sugar plantations but later hired out by Bishop when Blood's skills as a physician prove superior to those of the local doctors.
When a Spanish force attacks and raids the town of Bridgetown, Blood escapes with a number of other convict-slaves (including former shipmaster Jeremy Pitt, the one-eyed giant Edward Wolverstone, former gentleman Nathaniel Hagthorpe, former Royal Navy petty officer Nicholas Dyke and former Royal Navy master gunner Ned Ogle), captures the Spaniards' ship and sails away to become one of the most successful pirates/buccaneers in the Caribbean, hated and feared by the Spanish.
After the Glorious Revolution, Blood is pardoned, and as a reward for saving the colony of Jamaica from the French ends up as its governor.
While Blood is a fictional character, much of the historical background of the novel is based on fact. The Monmouth rebels were sold into slavery as described in the book; and the shifting political alliances of the Glorious Revolution of 1688 are used in the novel as a plot device to allow Blood's return to respectability.
Captain Blood was an enormously popular work, and Sabatini wrote two additional novels featuring Peter Blood: Captain Blood Returns (1930) (retitled The Chronicles of Captain Blood in the British publication) and The Fortunes of Captain Blood (1936). Both of these books are episodic tales of Blood's pirate career rather than true sequels. All the episodes are contained within the timeframe of the original novel, although Sabatini mistakenly dated one story "1690" despite the fact that Blood's piratical career had been established as ending in 1689, and two stories in Captain Blood Returns: "The War Indemnity" and "Blood Money" may be viewed as continuations of events that took place in the original novel.
Peter Blood and his exploits are based on several individuals, Henry Morgan and Thomas Blood in particular, and Henry Pitman, a physician who was actually swept up in the Monmouth Rebellion, sold into slavery in Barbados, escaped and was captured by pirates. However, unlike the fictional Blood, Pitman didn't join them, and eventually made his way back to England where he wrote a popular account of his adventures.
Film, TV or theatrical adaptations 
- Captain Blood (1924), starring J. Warren Kerrigan
- Captain Blood (1935), starring Errol Flynn
- Fortunes of Captain Blood (1950), starring Louis Hayward
- Captain Pirate (1952), aka Captain Blood, Fugitive (UK), starring Louis Hayward
- The Son of Captain Blood (1962), starring Sean Flynn (Errol Flynn's son)
- Odyssey of Captain Blood (1991) (USSR/France)
- Captain Blood. Full Cast Audio production (2006) The Colonial Radio Theatre on the Air. Released by Blackstone Audio.
Other adaptations 
Captain Blood: The Legacy, a five-issue sepia-toned comic adaptation of the novel by Matt Shepherd and Mike Shoyket (2009, SLG Comics)
See also 
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- Captain Blood at Project Gutenberg
- Audio recording, a LibriVox release
- http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10409 Sony Reader e-book version of Captain Blood