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Literature / Captain Blood: His Odyssey

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Captain Blood: His Odyssey is a 1922 novel by Rafael Sabatini.

The 1935 film version launched Errol Flynn to stardom.

Peter Blood, an honest man of true character and a humane doctor, is wrongfully imprisoned for treason under the laws of King James, and deported from Britain to a tropical colony at Bridgetown where he is sold as a slave at auction. Soon he encounters romantic inspiration, conflict, injustice, and ultimately finds himself in charge of an armada of pirate ships of various flags and national alliances, becoming the famous and invincible Captain Blood, the most honorable and remarkable buccaneer throughout the South Seas.

This novel provides examples of:

  • And Now You Must Marry Me: Levasseur tries this on the governor's daughter. It doesn't work out too well for him.
  • Arch-Enemies: Don Miguel and Peter.
    • Also Col. Bishop and Peter.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Blood goes through a period like this when depressed after believing he's lost the love of his life:
    He was degenerating visibly, under the eyes of all. He had entirely lost the almost foppish concern for his appearance, and was grown careless and slovenly in his dress. He allowed a black beard to grow on cheeks that had ever been so carefully shaven; and the long, thick black hair, once so sedulously curled, hung now in a lank, untidy mane about a face that was changing from its vigorous swarthiness to an unhealthy sallow, whilst the blue eyes, that had been so vivid and compelling, were now dull and lackluster.
  • Badass Bookworm: Peter was a soldier before he was a peaceful doctor, and when circumstances force him to take up arms again, he kills his enemies with surgical precision.
  • The Big Guy: Wolverstone fills this role.
  • Butt-Monkey: Cahusac
  • Celebrity Paradox: The story is heavily based on the life of Henry Morgan. The writer implies that the in-universe biography of Blood which he used to write the book was partially plagiarized for a Esquemeling's famous Morgan biography, so Morgan got credit for certain exploits that are "rightfully" Blood's. note 
  • Damsel in Distress: Blood's first partner in piracy, Levasseur, kidnaps his beloved Mlle. d'Ogeron to satisfy himself. When this puts Blood's safety in his safe harbor of Tortuga in jeopardy due to Mlle. d'Ogeron being daughter of the the Governor of Tortuga, and he must guile and duel is way into saving Mlle.
  • Climax Boss: The death of Don Miguel de Espinosa brings an end to the middle third of the odyssey. In addition to establishing the height of Blood's legacy, it directly brings the focus of the novel to Blood's last shift in goals and his conflict with his first and most personal foe, Col. Bishop.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Blood himself, like many Sabatini protagonists.
  • Dirty Coward: Cahusac, who flees the affair at Maracaybo.
  • Duel to the Death: Between Peter and Levasseur.
  • Funetik Aksent: Most of the Spaniards speak this way, as do Cahusac and Levasseur.
  • Guile Hero: Captain Blood, though very efficient in swordfighting, pulls his legendary feats by ruses, disguises and Batman gambits.
  • Hanging Judge: Judge Jeffreys.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: King James II.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Blood believes Arabella to be in love with another man and is willing to let her go. When he realizes that she is not going back to England with this man, it dawns on him that he has hope.
  • Loveable Rogue: Peter Blood and his crew (with a few notable exceptions).
  • Love Makes You Evil: Lord Julian is a nice guy, and one of the more civil and reasonable characters in the book, but Arabella's rejection of him makes him plan to...
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Lord Julian thinks Arabella would reciprocate his love for her if he were to kill Blood. To that end, he sails with Bishop's raid on Tortuga. However, he never actually meets Blood again.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Peter Blood is an appropriate - yet foreboding - name for a surgeon and former soldier. Ironically, the pirate Captain Blood is distinguished by his lack of bloodthirstiness, and his use of guile and strategem. He does, however, act somewhat sanguine, before his enslavement embitters him.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Arabella is kind to all of her uncle's slaves, which sets her apart from the vicious Colonel.
  • Pragmatic Hero: In contrast to other pirates who are guided by their burning hatred towards any servant of a sovereign nation and his dim employers, Blood remains cold-blooded in most situations, seeking to profit without resorting to violence.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: After Arabella calls him a "thief and pirate", Blood has a brief urge to actually become as barbaric as she believes him to be. He gets over it, though.
  • This Is My Name on Foreign: Peter Blood is known as Don Pedro Sangre and Le Sang when dealing with the Spanish and French respectively.
  • Wooden Ships and Iron Men: Absolutely. One of the most popular examples of this trope — at least, back when the trope was in its heyday.

Alternative Title(s): Captain Blood