Format Paperback
Publication Date 12/15/14
ISBN 9781605986500
Trim Size / Pages 9.1 x 7.1 in / 604

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The Big Book of Swashbuckling Adventure

Classic Tales of Dashing Heroes, Dastardly Villains, and Daring Escapes

Lawrence Ellsworth

“A delicious, pulse-quickening compendium of thrilling rescues, daring escapes, dreadful peril, and glorious adventure, masterfully curated by an editor who wields his pen as skillfully as any swashbuckler ever swung a sword."—Charles Ardai, Edgar Award-winning author and publisher of Hard Case Crime

The word “swashbuckler” conjures up an indelible image: a hero who’s a bit of a rogue but has his own code of honor, an adventurer with laughter on his lips and a flashing sword in his hand. This larger-than-life figure is regularly declared passé, but the swashbuckler is too appealing to ever really die. Who wouldn’t want to face deadly danger with confidence and élan? Who can deny the thrill of clashing blades, hairbreadth escapes, and daring rescues, of facing vile treachery with dauntless courage and passionate devotion?

The swashbuckler tradition was born out of legends like those of the Knights of the Round Table and of Robin Hood, revived in the early 19th century by Romantic movement authors such as Sir Walter Scott. The genre caught hold with the publication of Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers in 1844, and for the next century it was arguably the world’s leading form of adventure fiction.

Featuring selections by twenty hugely popular writers from the last century including Rafael Sabatini; Johnston Mcculley (creator of the Zorro character); Alexandre Dumas: Arthur Conan Doyle; and Pierce Egan (author of Robin Hood), this anthology is dedicated to the swashbuckler’s roots: historical adventures by the masters of the genre. Most of these stories have been out of print for decades; some have never before been collected in book form. All are top-notch entertainment.

So, ready for some action?

En garde!

Lawrence Ellsworth is the pen name of Lawrence Schick. He began his career as a writer at TSR Hobbies, where he was instrumental in the early popularity of the role-playing game “Dungeons & Dragons.” His long career in games publishing includes the role of Executive Director of Interactive Entertainment at AOL in the late 1990s, and he continues to work as a lead writer in online role-playing games. An authority on historical adventure fiction, Ellsworth was the editor of the 2014 anthology The Big Book of Swashbuckling Adventure, and the translator of Alexandre Dumas’s The Red Sphinx, a forgotten sequel to The Three Musketeers. He lives in northern Maryland.

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Endorsements & Reviews

“Captain Blood, Zorro, the Scarlet Pimpernel, Brigadier Gerard, Robin Hood; stories with titles such as ‘Pirate’s Gold’ and ‘The Queen’s Rose’— this is just the gift for, in Arthur Conan Doyle’s words, ‘the boy who’s half a man, OR the man who’s half a boy.’” Michael Dirda The Washington Post
“A fantastic selection of brilliant, old-school swashbucklers. Ellsworth has chosen sterling historical adventures from neglected and forgotten writers.” Howard Andrew Jones, author of the acclaimed Desert of Souls series and editor of the eight-volume collected historical adventures of Harold Lamb
“An excellent read for all those who enjoy swashbuckling—and for those who’d like an introduction to the world of derring-do.” AuthorLink
“The combined historical research is impressive. The tales are as quick and cutting as a rapier blade. An excellent and entertaining survey of the genre’s roots, a brilliant selection of dash, pluck, skill, yearning, and fortune.” Publishers Weekly