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 the Knights of the Round Table and of Robin Hood, revived in the early 19th century by authors such as Sir Walter Scott, then caught hold with the publication of Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers in 1844. 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 masters of the genre. Most of these stories have been out of print for decades; some have never before been collected in book form.
Lawrence Ellsworth is the pen name of Lawrence Schick. An authority on historical adventure fiction, Ellsworth is the translator of Alexandre Dumas’s The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, The Red Sphinx, and Blood Royal. Lawrence was born in the United States and now lives in Dublin.