Ah--! finally a book to keep me up reading until 3 a.m. rather than put it down -- it sure has been awhile! Emilio Salgari's pirate tale, The Tigers of Mompracem, serialized in the Italian newspaper La Nuova Arena in 1883-4, first published in book form in 1900, and here translated for the first time into English, is so chock full of action that the best cultural equivalent in North America that I could propose would have been the better dime-novel adventures of the late 19th-early 20th century. Or, perhaps think Douglas Fairbanks Sr.'s swashbuckling movies, or, if in a different genre, the Indiana Jones films -- this is the sort of thing Salgari has put to paper. Variously termed the father of heroes, the Italian Verne, the Italian Dumas, the father of Italian adventure fiction and even the grandfather of the Spaghetti Western, by his countrymen, Salgari sure could write a top-notch adventure novel.
Dr. Georges Dodds is a research scientist at McGill Univeristy whose interests lie predominantly in both English and French pre-1950 imaginative fiction. -- Excerpt from a review by Prof. Georges T. Dodds, SFSite.com
So, in my many searches for the best in historical, swashbuckler-type adventure fiction, I have more than once stumbled across the name of Emilio Salgari-usually mentioned by native Italian-speakers who lament that they cannot share his greatness with their English-speaking friends. Having now read the first book, Sandokan: The Tigers of Mompracem, I must say that I can see what all the fuss is about, but I would have seen it all even better had I been able to read the book when I was about thirteen. The story of an entirely vicious, hate-filled, revenge-obsessed pirate who suddenly (very, very suddenly) falls in love, causing everything to change for him, is full of the kind of melodrama, and spurts of blood, that I would have loved at that age.
-- Elijah Kinch Spector at www.goodreads.com and www.abouttocharge.wordpress.com
About the Author
Emilio Salgari was born in Verona on August 21, 1862, to a family of modest merchants. When his dream to captain his own vessel and explore the world was shattered by poor marks at a naval institute in Venice, he turned his passion for exploration and discovery to writing. He wrote more than two hundred adventure stories and novels, many of which are considered classics. Setting his tales in exotic locations, with heroes from a wide variety of cultures, Mr. Salgari used his powerful imagination to bring the wonders of the world to the doorstep of generations of readers. Arguably the best selling Italian author of all time, Emilio Salgari is virtually unknown to the English-speaking world. Yet, like his adventure-writing counterparts Jules Verne in France and Henry Rider Haggard in England, Emilio Salgari was knighted for his contribution to literature.