The Sea Hawk

The Sea Hawk

Infobox Book |
name = The Sea Hawk
title_orig =
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image_caption = 2007 e-book edition cover
author = Rafael Sabatini
illustrator =
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country = United Kingdom
language = English
series =
subject =
genre =
publisher =
release_date = 1915
english_release_date =
media_type =
pages =
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"The Sea Hawk" is a novel by Rafael Sabatini, originally published in 1915. The story is set over the years 1588-1593, and concerns a retired Cornish sea-faring gentleman, Sir Oliver Tressilian, who is villainously betrayed by a jealous half-brother. After being forced to serve as a slave on a Spanish galley, Sir Oliver is liberated by Barbary pirates. He joins the pirates, gaining the name "Sakr-el-Bahr", the hawk of the sea, and swears vengeance against his brother. __TOC__

Plot summary

Sir Oliver Tressilian lives at the house of Penarrow together with his brother Lionel and his servant Nicholas. He is betrothed to Rosamund Godolphin. Her brother Peter detests the Tressilians, as there had been a feud between their fathers. Peter and Rosamund's guardian, Sir John Killigrew, also has little love for the Tressilians.Peter is a young hothead who tries to drive a wedge between his sister and Sir Oliver. This leads Sir Oliver into dueling Sir John, who he deems the source of the enmity. Sir John survives the duel, but is badly wounded. This only serves to infuriate Peter. One day he insults Sir Oliver in front of a few notables and Sir Oliver sets in a furious pursuit. He then remembers he promised Rosamund to refrain from engaging her brother, which calms him and he heads home. Later that evening, his brother Lionel stumbles in bleeding. He has been in a duel with Peter Godolphin over a woman they both loved. Lionel killed Peter in self-defense, but there were no witnesses.Circumstances make everyone believe Sir Oliver is the killer and Lionel does nothing to quench that rumor. He even goes so far as to have his brother kidnapped for sale as a slave in Barbary to ensure that he never reveals the truth. The ship gets boarded by the Spanish and Sir Oliver and his kidnapper, Captain Jasper Leigh, both become Spanish slaves.

Sakr-el-Bahr, the Hawk of the Sea, the scourge of the Mediterranean, the terror of Christians, and the beloved of Asad-ed-Din, Basha of Algiers, is a devout Muslim corsair. He is also Sir Oliver Tressilian.After six months toiling as a slave at the oars of a Spanish galley and befriending a fellow slave, the Moor Yusuf-ben-Moktar, the galley gets boarded by Muslim corsairs. They escape their shackles and join the fight with the corsairs. His fighting and the testimony of Yussuf, the nephew of Asad-ed-Din, is the start of his career as a Muslim Corsair. He does hold on to his old ties by making a habit of buying captured English slaves and returning them via Italy.One day he captures a Spanish vessel and thereon discovers his one-time kidnapper Jasper Leigh as a slave at the oars. He gives Jasper the opportunity to join the Faith and his corsairs, the sea-hawks. Since Jasper can navigate the seas, Sakr-el-Bahr sets sail for England to get even with Lionel.Lionel has inherited Sir Oliver's possessions and even manages to befriend Sir John and become betrothed to Rosamund, who still believes Sir Oliver the murderer of her brother.Sakr-el-Bahr kidnaps them both and takes them back to Algiers where, to his dismay, the Basha enforce s the law that all slaves have to be auctioned fairly. The Basha is also at the slave-market and takes a fancy to Rosamund. He orders his wazeer to buy her. But since all purchases have to be paid for immediately, Sakr-el-Bahr manages to buy her instead. The Basha is furious and threatens to take her by force. Sakr-el-Bahr manages to thwart him though by marrying her. He also manages to trick his brother, whom he also bought, to tell the truth about who killed Peter Godolphin in front of Rosamund.The Basha wants to get rid of Sakr-el-Bahr and claim Rosamund for his own. Somehow Sakr-el-Bahr has to find a way to keep Rosamund from his clutches.

Film, TV or theatrical adaptations

The well-known 1940 film "The Sea Hawk" was originally planned as an adaptation of Sabatini's novel, but an entirely different story was substituted under the same title. An adventurous and dashing pirate Geoffrey Thorpe, played by Errol Flynn, feels that he should pirate Spanish ships for the good of England.

The silent film adaptation of the film from 1924, starring Milton Sills, was fairly faithful to Sabatini's plot.

External links


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