New Read: Sandokan, The Pirates of Malaysia

After I enjoyed the swashbuckling classic, Sandokan, The Tigers of Mompracem by Italian author Emilio Salgari, last year, I was thrilled to be offered the chance to read another, Sandokan, The Pirates of Malaysia, by its translator Nico Lorenzutti. First published in 1896 this edition was translated by Lorenzutti in 2007.

Some years after the last adventure and the destruction of their home, Sandokan, the feared ‘Tiger of Malaysia’; his faithful friend Yanez and his loyal band of rebel pirates are back with a vengeance. On one such raid, Yanez spares the life of a young Indian man, Kammamuri, who is attempting to rescues his poor master, Tremal-Naik, who has been wrongfully sentenced to life in a notorious British penal colony. Kammamuri enlists the help of Sandokan and Yanez, but in order to succeed they must lead their men against the forces of James Brooke, ‘The Exterminator’, the dreaded White Rajah of Sarawak.

It was great fun to be re-united with our righteously angry, princely pirate Sandokan and his friend, my personal favourite, Yanez, the charming Portuguese adventurer. However it was sad to learn that Marianna, ‘The Pearl of Labuan’, the woman Sandokan moved heaven and earth to possess, has tragically died in the few intervening years. But this does help to show a softer, more human side to Sandokan, especially when he discovers that Kammamuri has in his protection his master’s fiancée Ada Corishant; who is the very image of her beautiful cousin… Sandokan’s very own, dear Marianna!

Sadly Ada plays an equally small, passive role in the adventure, as Marianna did in the previous book. However Ada is by far a more interesting character: having been snatched from her father and fiancée in India by the terrible Thuggee cult. This shocking event and the violence she witnesses during her time with them have shockingly sent her quite mad, which is the main reason she plays such an understandably passive role. Seeing the sad state this beautiful, young woman has been brought to only resolves Sandokan and his pirates to see her fiancée, Tremal-Naik free and reunited with her.

While it was nice to have a more interesting female character and through her a more touching, realistic romance, what I really picked this book up for was adventure! And boy did Salgari deliver more of that! With battles at sea, deadly traps, shipwrecks, cannibals, jungle hideouts and a fetid convict ship, Salgari takes us on another fast paced, roller coaster ride. Also Lorenzutti’s translation is so smooth and seamless it means we never miss a beat or flow of the all the twists and turns.

Overall, I thought Sandokan, The Pirates of Malaysia was another rip-roaring adventure (with a touch of romance) that swept me back in time and across the seas. I look forward to reading more by this author. Good read.

Thank you to the translator for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Have you read this? Or any of Sandokan’s other adventures?

This is also book 3/50 off my Classics Club II list.

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7 thoughts on “New Read: Sandokan, The Pirates of Malaysia

    1. To be fair Lynn, I had not heard of these books or author until the translator got in touch with me about a review copy of Sandokan, The Tigers of Mompracem, but I am really glad he did because I have been enjoying these and I look forward to more! 🙂

  1. I feel I must read these! They sound wonderful – I remember thinking so when you reviewed the first one but the hideous state of my TBR meant I didn’t get around to it. I’m going to stick them on my wishlist right now! Poor Marianne – but heroes are much better fun when they’re free to have new romances, so it’s better she died. I felt much the same about Dr Watson’s Mary – nice woman, but he was more fun single. (Honestly, I’m much nicer about real people… 😉 )

  2. I remember Sandokan’s adventures fondly, as do the ones of Captain Storm. Have you read those? I can’t remember the author, but it is based in Turkey. Captain Storm was a woman warrior, passing as a man, and fighting like one too. Her adventures were stuff of legend. I read those, like the adventures of Sandokan, when I was a child. Sooo long ago!!! 😉

    1. Ha! I just Googled Captain Storm (El Capitan Tormenta). It is also written by Emilio Salgari. Why didn’t I remember that?! 😉 No wonder I associated the two.

      1. HAHA that would be why you linked them together! 😛 I haven’t read the Captain Storm/Capitan Tempesta novels, but I love the sound of a woman warrior passing herself off as a man! So I will definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for copies of those. For now though, I have Salgari’s The Black Corsair and its sequel The Queen of the Caribbean to read, which are about Emilio Roccanera, a Spanish lord turned pirate! 😀

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