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The Outlaws of Falkensteig
The Outlaws of Falkensteig
Price: $3.03

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Earliest available Sabatini: weak but entertaining, November 23, 2012
This collection contains the earliest available stories by Rafael Sabatini, but they're not a good starting point for anyone but completists. (_The Camisade & Other Stories of the French Revolution_ has a slightly earlier story, "The Coward," published in May 1900, but is no longer available.) The stories are set in a Ruritania-like country between 1638 and 1643, and follow the fortunes of two outlaw leaders.

If you've read all the conventionally available Sabatini, and are interested in his development as an author, the stories in this book may amuse you. They show both hints of his later strengths, and excessive instances of his later flaws, such as plots that rely on coincidence and villains acting against their own interests. (And would a master outlaw such as Felsheim really have no better means of intelligence gathering than inadvertent eavesdropping?) They do demonstrate, however, Sabatini's later originality. The later Sabatini, or anyone who's ever read the late Sabatini, could improve the plot of some of this with a few minutes' work: What seems obvious to us now, is obvious only after exposure to his mature work.


The Suitors of Yvonne: being a portion of the memoirs of the Sieur Gaston de Luynes
The Suitors of Yvonne: being a portion of the memoirs of the Sieur Gaston de Luynes
Price: $0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive as a first novel, November 23, 2012
This is an impressive effort as a first novel, with much (though not all) of the complexity, craftsmanship, and attention to honor of Sabatini's later and better-known works. It also, sadly, has some of his common weaknesses, such as implausible but convenient reticence on the part of the main characters, and conveniently-timed coincidences. The novel is set in France during the time of Cardinal Mazarin, and has Sabatini's customary swordplay, gallant hero, and treacherous villains.


Tom Stoppard Radio Plays
Tom Stoppard Radio Plays
by Tom Stoppard
Edition: Audio CD
Price: $49.50
20 used & new from $41.59

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, of course, November 23, 2012
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I haven't listened to the last play yet, but the first three are, of course, excellent--they're written by Stoppard and produced, with ample funding and excellent casts, by the BBC.


Walter Johnson King Of The Pitchers
Walter Johnson King Of The Pitchers
by Roger L. Treat
Edition: Hardcover
5 used & new from $13.98

4.0 out of 5 stars An Inspiring Story for Kids, November 23, 2012
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This is more a story for boys than a serious biography, but it's an inspiring one. The book begins with an acknowledgement and an endorsement by Clark Griffith, Johnson's manager for much of his career; but for much of the book Griffith seems more of a co-author than a source. (Though on page 91 there's a somewhat overdone encomium to him.) The omissions point to Griffith as well; there are no details about Johnson's minor league career or early life, and the most surprising point in his career, his signing and then breaking a contract with the `outlaw "Federal" League,' is only briefly mentioned twice (on pages 65 and 91), largely to make points in Griffith's favor. (This is particularly ironic given Griffith's earlier role in luring players to the American League from the National.)
There's little mention of Johnson's comparatively good hitting, which would have been inspiring in these dark times for the American League, and only a brief synopsis of his career as a manager. But for all the bias, it's a fun and inspiring book for, in my case at least, a nine-year-old boy.

Also listed by Amazon as Walter Johnson: King of the Pitchers and Walter Johnson, King of the Pitchers; the author's full name is Roger L. Treat, and Robert S. Robison is the illustrator, not a co-author. (Amazon hasn't responded to my corrections.)


The Sea-Hawk
The Sea-Hawk
by Rafael Sabatini
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $7.52
30 used & new from $6.95

3.0 out of 5 stars Beginning of the mature Sabatini; skip the first half, and ignore the Errol Flynn film, October 20, 2012
This review is from: The Sea-Hawk (Hardcover)
Sabatini's long literary nonage ends abruptly after Part I of The Sea-Hawk, which you can safely skip if you find any of it dragging; it's domestic melodrama, similar to much of what he'd already written, and what you need to know is recapitulated in Part II. His mature period begins suddenly with Part II, which is an awkward and abrupt transition from Part I; but once Sabatini hits his stride, the writing is nearly as gripping as anything in his prime. The climax works well and makes a reasonable amount of sense, though Sabatini does revert to some earlier bad habits in the anti-climaxes, which are unduly burdened by coincidence--enough so that a character even needs to allude to them.

Despite what Amazon claims, the Errol Flynn movie (which I walked out of) was not based on the novel. The silent film, however, was; and what I saw of it was quite well done.


Rodgers & Hammerstein's Pipe Dream (New York City Center Encores! Presents)
Rodgers & Hammerstein's Pipe Dream (New York City Center Encores! Presents)
Price: $18.74
31 used & new from $10.98

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating failure about marine biology and ladies of dubious virtue, October 11, 2012
Having John Steinbeck write a sequel so that you can produce a musical about marine biology and ladies of dubious virtue may have been a brilliant idea, and the original choice of Frank Loesser as composer might have worked out very well. But as much as I respect Oscar Hammerstein, he was exactly the wrong person to write it, as everyone, including he, eventually realized. The original production also seems to have suffered from a diva who was almost as unsuitable, leading to even more vacillation.
The City Center Encores revival made a brave attempt to undo the damage; Will Chase and Laura Osnes were excellent as the leads. I don't think the plot was salvageable (Minor spoiler: Neither denouement really works. Steinbeck may have made them work in print, but standards of realism for a musical aren't quite that flexible). But none of that matters much for the music; it's vintage Rodgers & Hammerstein, and if you know what that means, I urge you to buy the album right away.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 14, 2012 5:17 PM PDT


Justice Of The Duke
Justice Of The Duke
by Rafael Sabatini
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disambiguation, July 7, 2012
This review is from: Justice Of The Duke (Paperback)
The invaluable RafaelSabatini dot com's editions.html page says that _The Justice of the Duke_ was "about Cesare Borgia" and "was never published in the US under that title. However, three of the stories in that book were included in the 1924 first Houghton Mifflin edition of Historical Night's Entertainment Series 2..." I haven't been able to obtain the book _The Justice of the Duke_, but Project Gutenberg Australia has a collection, _Collected Stories of Rafael Sabatini_, which contains a short story about Borgia entitled "The Justice of the Duke"; that book, however, has a distinct table of contents from the book here. The Gutenberg collection contains the following stories:

The Red Mask (1898) The Curate and the Actress (1899) The Fool's Love Story (1899) Mr. Dewbury's Consent (1906) The Baker of Rousillon (1906) Wirgman's Theory (1906) The Abduction (1908) Monsieur Delamort (1909) The Foster Lover (1910) The Blackmailer (1912) The Justice of the Duke (1912) The Ordeal (1913) The Tapestried Room (1913) The Wedding Gift (1913) The Sword of Islam (1914) In Destiny's Clutch (1921)

Most of these are from Sabatini's long literary nonage, and I can't recommend them. "The Curate and the Actress" (1899), for instance, is an unreadable attempt at Wodehousian social comedy; Sabatini does not do non-grim humor well. (To be fair, there is one mildly successful joke in "Mr. Dewbury's Consent.") Two of the later stories, however, are excellent: "The Foster Lover" and "The Blackmailer." "In Destiny's Clutch" (1921) is actually just a minor revision of "The Sword of Islam" (1914), part of the basis for the later novel of the same name.


The Coming of Bill
The Coming of Bill

2.0 out of 5 stars Unsuccessful Munsey's romance, July 7, 2012
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I largely agree with Dave_42's review, so I'll just make a few additional points. McCrum's biography calls this an unsuccessful attempt by Wodehouse to write a Munsey's romance, which is fair enough, but not quite the whole story. If you're a Wodehouse completist, it's interesting to read his sole attempt to deal seriously with sex and its purpose, since he seems not to have had a sex drive, presumably due to mumps as a child. Less successful are his attempts to deal with death, which don't really seem to have any lasting emotional impact--so perhaps it's as well that he avoided it in the rest of his writing. Wodehouse is more even-handed than usual with the characters, with some implicit criticism of the sympathetic ones. Mrs Porter has eugenic views, and hence has to be the villainess, but in retrospect I think I detect some sympathy on Wodehouse's part for her.

The Kindle edition is improperly typeset, with spurious line breaks, so I can't recommend it. I created my own ePub with iWork Pages.


A Damsel in Distress
A Damsel in Distress

5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Buzzer Novel, March 10, 2012
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I agree with Mr Gordon's review on the high quality of the writing in the novel; it's one of the classic Wodehouse buzzer novels (i.e., about a romantically enterprising hero with "a ready flow of that small-talk which is part badinage and part sentiment"*). I'll add a bit to the speculation about autobiographical parallels (somewhat inverted) in the novel by pointing out that Sir Pelham had recently married beneath himself, which adds poignancy to Lord Marshmoreton's uncharacteristically serious speech on the subject.

A brief note on the Kindle typography: It was sloppily done, with many spurious line breaks, which are not followed by indentation, but it's better than the iBooks Gutenberg edition, which has a spurious blank line after every paragraph.

---

* Wodehouse quoted in Terry Mordue's annotations to _Money in the Bank_, [...]


The Strolling Saint; being the confessions of the high and mighty Agostino D'Anguissola, tyrant of Mondolfo and Lord of Carmina in the state of Piacenza
The Strolling Saint; being the confessions of the high and mighty Agostino D'Anguissola, tyrant of Mondolfo and Lord of Carmina in the state of Piacenza

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Another sin of Sabatini's literary nonage, February 19, 2012
Another uneven novel written while Sabatini still seemed to be learning his craft. There are bits in the end and the beginning worthy of the mature Sabatini; but not much happens in the middle, at least by his usual standards--he seems to be aiming for a different genre and audience. The writing livens up at the end, but the plotting remains weak, and the ending is preposterous.


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