A high-seas tale of plucky buccaneers, savage Spanish colonialism and the most fearsome captain of the Caribbean, translated into English.

An icon of Italian and Spanish literature, Salgari’s novel is one of the greatest archetypes of the genre and boasts recognition from such luminaries as Jean-Paul Sartre, Umberto Eco and Jorge Luis Borges as the book that captured the imagination of their childhood. The Black Corsair—a brooding, if not melancholic, pirate—is obsessed with avenging the deaths of his pirate brothers, the Red and Green Corsairs, who have been slain by the ruthless and traitorous Duke Van Guld, governor of Maracaibo, after he betrayed their alliance in a battle against the Spanish. Driven from his Italian estate, nobleman Emilio Roccanera, Lord of Ventimiglia, is transformed into the renowned and much-feared Black Corsair who vows to track the duke across the globe, traversing the jade waters of the Caribbean—from the pirate haven of Tortuga to the nearly impassable jungles of the Spanish Main—in his effort to enact vengeance. Aiding the corsair in his journey are his faithful compatriots L’Ollonais, Michael the Basque and Henry Morgan, each more than willing to sacrifice his life to the cause as per the code of the Brethren of the Coast. Though pirate lore would have you believe all pirates are scoundrels of dastardly deeds, the Black Corsair’s aristocratic background makes him a gentleman at heart, which attracts the attention of a fair-haired duchess whose family ties will ultimately test the limits of the Black Corsair’s sanity in his blood-lusting quest. Though the story suffers from brief periods of tedium as it plods along and makes frequent and obvious use of foreshadowing, the book is eminently readable and great fun. It’s easy to see why this novel has captured imaginations for more than 100 years, as it’s a perfect example of escapist pleasure for both children and adults. As for translation itself, the language is clear and concise, and Lorenzutti nicely maintains the tempo and pace of the original, making for a fast-paced reading experience. This work is faithful to the original and does a great service to reintroduce this classic to a new generation of readers. A true page-turner and classic adventure story, Salgari’s tale of exotica is a welcome diversion.


Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0978270780

Page Count: 285

Publisher: ROH

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.


From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Sure signs that the creative wells are running dry at last, the Captain’s ninth, overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.

Not that there aren’t pranks and envelope-pushing quips aplenty. To start, in an alternate ending to the previous episode, Principal Krupp ends up in prison (“…a lot like being a student at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, except that the prison had better funding”). There, he witnesses fellow inmate Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) escape in a giant Robo-Suit (later reduced to time-traveling trousers). The villain sets off after George and Harold, who are in juvie (“not much different from our old school…except that they have library books here.”). Cut to five years previous, in a prequel to the whole series. George and Harold link up in kindergarten to reduce a quartet of vicious bullies to giggling insanity with a relentless series of pranks involving shaving cream, spiders, effeminate spoof text messages and friendship bracelets. Pilkey tucks both topical jokes and bathroom humor into the cartoon art, and ups the narrative’s lexical ante with terms like “pharmaceuticals” and “theatrical flair.” Unfortunately, the bullies’ sad fates force Krupp to resign, so he’s not around to save the Earth from being destroyed later on by Talking Toilets and other invaders…

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-17534-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun


From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 1

It’s been 42 days since the Monster Apocalypse began, and 13-year-old Jack Sullivan, a self-proclaimed “zombie-fighting, monster-slaying tornado of cool” is on a quest to find and rescue his not-so-secret crush, June Del Toro, whether she needs it, wants it, or not.

Jack cobbles together an unlikely but endearing crew, including his scientist best friend, Quint Baker; Dirk Savage, Parker Middle School’s biggest bully; and a pet monster named Rover, to help him save the damsel in distress and complete the “ULTIMATE Feat of Apocalyptic Success.” Middle-grade readers, particularly boys, will find Jack’s pitch-perfect mix of humor, bravado, and self-professed geekiness impossible to resist. His sidekicks are equally entertaining, and it doesn’t hurt that there are also plenty of oozing, drooling, sharp-toothed monsters and zombies and a host of gizmos and gadgets to hook readers and keep them cheering with every turn of the page. Holgate’s illustrations play an integral role in the novel’s success. They not only bring Brallier’s characters to life, but also add depth and detail to the story, making plain just exactly how big Rover is and giving the lie to Jack’s “killer driving.” The marriage of text and illustration serves as a perfect example of what an illustrated novel can and should be.

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun . (Graphic/horror hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-01661-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet