"The lovely and treacherous ladies of the Fifteen Century haunt the pages of 'Chivalry'. The story rings with the clash of swords."
A novel filled with living characters and the clash of swords and laid in the picturesque fifteenth century.
At the age of twenty-eight, Ser Colombino had become one of the great mercenary captains of the day, his fame spreading across the length and breadth of Italy. But, soldier of fortune though he was, living on the bloody threshold of the Renaissance, Colombino patterned his life on the Age of Chivalry... It was for this reason perhaps that he led his Company of the Dove against Verona in the service of that beautiful and dangerous woman, the Countess Eufemia of Rovieto. Taking up arms for Lord Onorato and his daughter, the fair Samaritana, Colombino smashed the armies of Venice and fell in love with Samaritana, who was already secretly betrothed.
published by The Riverside Press
Cambridge, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1935
I hadn't read much Sabatini in a while when I picked up a copy of Chivalry at my local library. I am an avid reader of modern historical fiction, especially mysteries, so I was very comfortable with how "modern" the characters in Chivalry acted. The women, for instance were not passive caricatures, but were proactive individuals with understable motives and desires. Even the background characters got a small sketch so that none of them seemed identical to the others.
The protagonist, Columbino is a pre-Renaissance Italian mercenary who comes to question his moral code, based on the Code of Chivalry, because of the betrayals of four women. The betrayals, each different, serve to guide his character away from his original blind trust and blanket urge to protect of all women, to a better understanding of them.
With the renewed interest in historical fiction in the movies and television, I would love to see a version of this brought to life. In the four strong women characters, there seems to be enough room to avoid the mindless ingenue casting of many modern adventure films, yet Sir Colombino's vocation would allow a good deal of action scenes as well.
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