Friday, February 04, 2005

On Nevil Shute & Rafael Sabatini

One of the most wonderful experiences a reader has is discovering “buried treasure”: that is, a writer previously unknown to the reader who promises to become a favorite. My most recent discoveries may not rank in my Top Seven (Chesterton, Dickens, Solzhenitsyn, Dumas, Shakespeare, Scott and Dostoevsky) but they have provided me with enjoyable and quite valuable reads. I humbly recommend them to visitors of the Book Den.

The first is Nevil Shute (1899-1960), an English novelist who I should have found long ago. He has written a lot of novels and has a pretty high regard among quality booklovers. But, like so many excellent writers, the libraries and publishers have ignored Shute in order to push more Anne Rice and Stephen King at us. Too bad. It is why we need to always keep searching for literary treasures and then pass the word along to each other when we find them. No hoarding among the genuine literati, okay? I’ve only read three of Shute’s novels so far (all three had a WWII connection) but I was really moved by all of them: Pied Piper, Pastoral and A Town Like Alice. You can learn more about Nevil Shute Norway’s life and work at this web site.

The other “new” writer (well, new to me) that I’ll mention here is Rafael Sabatini, swashbuckling author extraordinaire and creator of Scaramouche, Captain Blood, Bardelys the Magnificent and other soul-stirring tales of romance and intrigue. You’ll always get exciting reading from this Italian-English novelist. A nice web site dedicated to Sabatini is right here: