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Bardelys the Magnificent by Rafael Sabatini, Historical Fiction

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It was an unlikely romance -- it started as a challenge from one of her scorned suitors: she was a woman, said the scorned one, who not even Bardelys the Magnificent could woo. Bardelys (called Magnificent for the fine quality of his hospoitality) tried to demur. It was madness, plain and simple. But them the rustic Gascon pointed out that it had become a matter of honor, It was an unlikely romance -- it started as a challenge from one of her scorned suitors: she was a woman, said the scorned one, who not even Bardelys the Magnificent could woo. Bardelys (called Magnificent for the fine quality of his hospoitality) tried to demur. It was madness, plain and simple. But them the rustic Gascon pointed out that it had become a matter of honor, and then there was no hope for it. All bad enoough -- and then the French Revolution intervened! O tempore! O more! (Jacketless library hardcover.)


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It was an unlikely romance -- it started as a challenge from one of her scorned suitors: she was a woman, said the scorned one, who not even Bardelys the Magnificent could woo. Bardelys (called Magnificent for the fine quality of his hospoitality) tried to demur. It was madness, plain and simple. But them the rustic Gascon pointed out that it had become a matter of honor, It was an unlikely romance -- it started as a challenge from one of her scorned suitors: she was a woman, said the scorned one, who not even Bardelys the Magnificent could woo. Bardelys (called Magnificent for the fine quality of his hospoitality) tried to demur. It was madness, plain and simple. But them the rustic Gascon pointed out that it had become a matter of honor, and then there was no hope for it. All bad enoough -- and then the French Revolution intervened! O tempore! O more! (Jacketless library hardcover.)

30 review for Bardelys the Magnificent by Rafael Sabatini, Historical Fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Considering how much appeal I find in historical adventure stories, whether THE THREE MUSKETEERS, THE COUNT OF MONTE-CRISTO, BEAU GESTE, or others of that sort, and how deeply I enjoy the films made from the works of Rafael Sabatini (THE SEA HAWK, CAPTAIN BLOOD, etc.), somehow I'd never gotten around to reading one of his novels. I picked as my first one BARDELYS THE MAGNIFICENT, a story I'd enjoyed immensely in its silent-film version starring John Gilbert. Having just finished another historic Considering how much appeal I find in historical adventure stories, whether THE THREE MUSKETEERS, THE COUNT OF MONTE-CRISTO, BEAU GESTE, or others of that sort, and how deeply I enjoy the films made from the works of Rafael Sabatini (THE SEA HAWK, CAPTAIN BLOOD, etc.), somehow I'd never gotten around to reading one of his novels. I picked as my first one BARDELYS THE MAGNIFICENT, a story I'd enjoyed immensely in its silent-film version starring John Gilbert. Having just finished another historical novel set in France, one I found often tedious, I was unprepared for the compelling adventure and superb phrasing of Sabatini. I approached the book somewhat warily, but within minutes of beginning began to look forward with excitement to the fact that there are a lot more unread Sabatini novels in my future. Sabatini is no Fitzgerald or Chandler or Wolfe, but for sheer pleasurable reading, I have to mark him excellent. BARDELYS THE MAGNIFICENT is a first-person adventure told by a wealthy French nobleman of rakish, but honorable, character. Mistaken identity, romance with a beautiful woman, and delicious revenge serve, as they so often do in stories of this sort, to propel the reader happily through episodes of intrigue and derring-do. Implausible? Improbable? Of course. Engaging? Thrilling? Absolutely. If the rest of Sabatini is as much fun to read as this book, I've got a lot of great reading ahead.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Joe Newell

    I have loved all of Rafael Sabatini's books for decades. I read through a handful a few years ago and then took a break and read a bunch of other stuff. I recently came back to Rafael when I found some of his books for free on my Kindle. This is one of those, and Viola' the love affair has been rekindled. Sabatini has a way with words. You feel like your reading a sacred text almost. Just the flair; the way he crafts his sentences. It's like one part King James old English and one part poetry; no I have loved all of Rafael Sabatini's books for decades. I read through a handful a few years ago and then took a break and read a bunch of other stuff. I recently came back to Rafael when I found some of his books for free on my Kindle. This is one of those, and Viola' the love affair has been rekindled. Sabatini has a way with words. You feel like your reading a sacred text almost. Just the flair; the way he crafts his sentences. It's like one part King James old English and one part poetry; not too much of either, but just enough. But even more: he tells a great story always. Reading Sabatini is much like reading a Dumas novel, without requiring quite so much concentration. The words flow instead of having to be interpreted. Really, read Sabatini.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Suzannah

    Full review now available on Vintage Novels! - I think I want to review this in a little more depth later, but for now suffice it to say I was pleasantly surprised how well this little swashbuckler stood up to a re-read! It's right up there with the likes of The Prisoner of Zenda and Captain Blood. Even though this is the second or (possibly) third time I've read it, I couldn't tear myself away and even felt sorry for the rapscallion of a hero. Full review now available on Vintage Novels! - I think I want to review this in a little more depth later, but for now suffice it to say I was pleasantly surprised how well this little swashbuckler stood up to a re-read! It's right up there with the likes of The Prisoner of Zenda and Captain Blood. Even though this is the second or (possibly) third time I've read it, I couldn't tear myself away and even felt sorry for the rapscallion of a hero.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Seema Khan

    Magnificent!!! Its the least i can say!! The intricate understanding and depiction of the characters and especially Bardelys is commendable. Kept me intrigued,excited overwhelmed and wanting for more!! Overall a very satisfying Book. Loved Monseigneur Bardelys' character with all its grey shades. The book very well deserves its place in history as a remarkable depiction of a period drama!! Magnificent!!! Its the least i can say!! The intricate understanding and depiction of the characters and especially Bardelys is commendable. Kept me intrigued,excited overwhelmed and wanting for more!! Overall a very satisfying Book. Loved Monseigneur Bardelys' character with all its grey shades. The book very well deserves its place in history as a remarkable depiction of a period drama!!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    I'm not going to pretend that this is a perfect book in the abstract, or even a very good one, but it is perfect of its kind – a dumb swashbuckling romance, with duels and Honor and an obvious villain, and it brought me joy. I don't like to defend or explain my ratings, but five stars for a book that is objectively only okay probably does need some explanation. I'm not going to pretend that this is a perfect book in the abstract, or even a very good one, but it is perfect of its kind – a dumb swashbuckling romance, with duels and Honor and an obvious villain, and it brought me joy. I don't like to defend or explain my ratings, but five stars for a book that is objectively only okay probably does need some explanation.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    3.5* While I did take pleasure in this book, I found myself troubled by the arrogance of the main character. Bardelys' attitudes were completely within reason for a wealthy nobleman of the French court of Louis XIII around 1632, but something in the manner of it made it difficult for me to "root" for him wholeheartedly. 3.5* While I did take pleasure in this book, I found myself troubled by the arrogance of the main character. Bardelys' attitudes were completely within reason for a wealthy nobleman of the French court of Louis XIII around 1632, but something in the manner of it made it difficult for me to "root" for him wholeheartedly.

  7. 5 out of 5

    D.S. Taylor

    Sabatini was a wordsmith, his books are almost poems. Perhaps the language is a little overblown in places, but I’m yet to read something by him I haven’t enjoyed. Bardley’s the Magnificent is surely one of his most underrated works.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Amir Anis

    An amazing swashbuckling adventure that has it all: romance, political intrigue, sword fights, and an instantly admirable hero. Just what you'd expect in a Sabatini novel. Very highly recommended. This man is CRIMINALLY underrated! An amazing swashbuckling adventure that has it all: romance, political intrigue, sword fights, and an instantly admirable hero. Just what you'd expect in a Sabatini novel. Very highly recommended. This man is CRIMINALLY underrated!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Julie Bye

    This is the first novel by Sabatini that I had read. It was fun to read. I had visions of 1930s films flashing through my mind while reading it. It is overblown, but it is fun to read. A typical swashbuckling adventure of its time.

  10. 4 out of 5

    michele stroud

    A thrilling tale of deception and redemption. This story is 100+ years old and therefore classiest and misogynistic. But I found it easy to root for this young rogueish dude of great wealth and privilege as he pursues the fair maiden.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth

    I read this one back in my early high school years and remember really liking it. A swashbuckling romp through 17th century France by a master of that genre.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    I thoroughly enjoy Sabatini's romantic, action-adventure writing style. I tend to eat up descriptions and dialogue that would irritate me from most other authors, just because he is that good! LOL The hero in this book is flawed despite his "superhero" aspects, and his frequent mistakes made him interesting and appealing. The heroine is slightly idealized, but since the story is told entirely from the guy's POV, this works!Both characters grow in (mostly) believable ways, and. . .well. . .it's ju I thoroughly enjoy Sabatini's romantic, action-adventure writing style. I tend to eat up descriptions and dialogue that would irritate me from most other authors, just because he is that good! LOL The hero in this book is flawed despite his "superhero" aspects, and his frequent mistakes made him interesting and appealing. The heroine is slightly idealized, but since the story is told entirely from the guy's POV, this works!Both characters grow in (mostly) believable ways, and. . .well. . .it's just plain fun reading. Although the plot contains many "it just so happened" events, these include both good and bad fortune for the hero, and some of the events were the direct results of characters' poor choices, so it worked for me! Planning to read more Sabatini soon. Before this book, I had only read Scaramouche (and loved it). Now I am hungry for more, although I've got a big stack of TBR's that must come first. :-)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Maris McKay

    Not nearly as enjoyable as the other Rafael Sabatini novels I've read. If this is your first time reading Sabatini, I highly recommend you pick up "Scaramouche" instead. I spent more time than I care to admit shouting at the main character asking, "How can you be so stupid?" Wish I'd read it in printed form instead of on my phone so I could have beat my forehead against the book in frustration. [mild spoilers ahead] The main character/narrator consistently makes bad decisions (often the same bad Not nearly as enjoyable as the other Rafael Sabatini novels I've read. If this is your first time reading Sabatini, I highly recommend you pick up "Scaramouche" instead. I spent more time than I care to admit shouting at the main character asking, "How can you be so stupid?" Wish I'd read it in printed form instead of on my phone so I could have beat my forehead against the book in frustration. [mild spoilers ahead] The main character/narrator consistently makes bad decisions (often the same bad decisions multiple times in a row), is violent toward people under his control, and emotionally manipulative toward the woman he loves. He says he's learned his lessons, but everything works out perfectly for him in the end with very little real effort on his part or evidence of character growth. It's very frustrating.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Steven Drachman

    I think that most readers will find this pretty fusty, though it is probably a must-read curiosity for big Sabatini fans. The film, starring John Gilbert, is much better, and done with some knowing wit, as well as great action and romance, and holds up much better today than the book. Unfortunately for Sabatini's reputation, he demanded by contract that the film be destroyed when the contract expired. Luckily, one copy survived with just a reel missing. So five stars for the film, and two stars I think that most readers will find this pretty fusty, though it is probably a must-read curiosity for big Sabatini fans. The film, starring John Gilbert, is much better, and done with some knowing wit, as well as great action and romance, and holds up much better today than the book. Unfortunately for Sabatini's reputation, he demanded by contract that the film be destroyed when the contract expired. Luckily, one copy survived with just a reel missing. So five stars for the film, and two stars for the book and Sabatini's attempt to sabotage film history.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Hollingshead

    I love Rafael Sabatini. His Novels are always at least 4 stars in my opinion, as Bardelys is. Though I normally do not like Rom/Com court novels, I really liked Bardelys the Magnificent. Court, treasonous rebellion, sword fights, and mistaken identity await the reader of this highly enjoyable text. Bardelys is not Captain Peter Blood or Scaramouche, but is a fine hero in his own right and sphere. Sabatini is a master of pacing and Bardelys was almost as hard to put down as Sabatini's more famous I love Rafael Sabatini. His Novels are always at least 4 stars in my opinion, as Bardelys is. Though I normally do not like Rom/Com court novels, I really liked Bardelys the Magnificent. Court, treasonous rebellion, sword fights, and mistaken identity await the reader of this highly enjoyable text. Bardelys is not Captain Peter Blood or Scaramouche, but is a fine hero in his own right and sphere. Sabatini is a master of pacing and Bardelys was almost as hard to put down as Sabatini's more famous works.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Skallagrimsen

    I'm tempted to dismiss Bardelys the Magnificent as "lower shelf" Sabatini on the grounds that, while I distinctly remember reading it, the details of the plot and characters didn't impress themselves very firmly into my memory. I mostly recall that it's set in France during the reign of Louis XIII, against the backdrop of the famous siege of La Rochelle. It therefore teases us with the possibility that d'Artagnan and the Three Musketeers would show up for a cameo. (They don't, at least directly; I'm tempted to dismiss Bardelys the Magnificent as "lower shelf" Sabatini on the grounds that, while I distinctly remember reading it, the details of the plot and characters didn't impress themselves very firmly into my memory. I mostly recall that it's set in France during the reign of Louis XIII, against the backdrop of the famous siege of La Rochelle. It therefore teases us with the possibility that d'Artagnan and the Three Musketeers would show up for a cameo. (They don't, at least directly; I believed they were alluded to in one scene, but that may have been wishful thinking.)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Sabatini is the master of the good old-fashioned, swashbuckling romance. This is not one of his best, although it is an enjoyable enough read. I just didn't find Bardelys either a flawed enough or heroic enough leading man. However, it is possible to see the creative seeds that will later produce Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk and Scaramouche. Sabatini is the master of the good old-fashioned, swashbuckling romance. This is not one of his best, although it is an enjoyable enough read. I just didn't find Bardelys either a flawed enough or heroic enough leading man. However, it is possible to see the creative seeds that will later produce Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk and Scaramouche.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Robert Edelstein

    A mighty early and mighty good Sabatini entry. You will have to restrain yourself from actually climbing inside the narrative in order to slap the title character now and again, but it won't stop you from reading in order to find out what happens. The villain is wondrously cruel as well. A mighty early and mighty good Sabatini entry. You will have to restrain yourself from actually climbing inside the narrative in order to slap the title character now and again, but it won't stop you from reading in order to find out what happens. The villain is wondrously cruel as well.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    brilliant

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Another great romp by Sabatini. It really is a pity his work is not better known.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    The hero was frustrating at times, but it was fun to see a Sabatini lead whose toughest challenges are brought on by his own bad decisions.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    More Sabatini. Can't get enough. Adventure/tragic romantic comedy. More Sabatini. Can't get enough. Adventure/tragic romantic comedy.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Smith

    Set in the court of Louis XIII an enjoyable romantic adventure story.

  24. 4 out of 5

    John L

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kenci

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brian Murphy

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mick Scheinin

  28. 5 out of 5

    Pushpa Rao

  29. 5 out of 5

    L J Field

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Lee

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