Introduction On Racism Epigraphs A History of the Pulps A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Glossary and Character Taxonomy Breakdown by Country of Origin Bibliography Table of Contents The Best of the Encyclopedia
Sandokan. Sandokan was created by the Italian author Emilio Salgari (Captain Storm) and appeared in a number of stories and story serials and eleven novels from 1883 to 1913, beginning with “La Tigre della Malesia” (La Nuova Arena, Oct 1883-March 1884).
Sandokan is the son of the former rajah of a nameless, prosperous Malaysian state. When Sandokan's father and family are attacked and slaughtered, their guards, who are the personal guards of James Brooke, the English White Peril Governor of the island of Labuan, do nothing. Sandokan goes to live with his faithful old teacher, but after dreaming of the deaths of his family resolves to search out Brooke and find out why Brooke betrayed Sandokan's father. Sandokan takes to sea as a ship's boy on a steamer bound for Labuan. Sandokan and his best friend Janez, a Portuguese wanderer, escape from a trap set by Brooke and set ashore on Mompracem, an island that later becomes their hideout. They first have to capture it from a band of pirates, who are so impressed by the courage of Sandokan and Janez that they join them, becoming “the young tigers of Malaysia.”
Sandokan begins a Robin Hood-like life of piracy, picking up a girlfriend, Marianna, along the way. That Marianna is James Brooke's niece does not, in the end, threaten their relationship, for they get married after he proposes to her with a gift of extremely opulent rubies. After fighting Thugs (in the dreaded Black Jungle of India), sorcerers, the English, the jungles of Malaysia, Honorata (the descendant of Circe) the slopes of the Himalayas, and various lost peoples, and after restoring at least one deposed princess of Assam to her throne, Sandokan defeats Brooke and his flunkies and regains the kingdom taken from his father.
* I'm including the Sandokan stories and novels in the Best of the Encyclopedia list because of their historical importance. Unknown until recently in English-speaking lands, the Sandokan fictions were hugely popular in Italy, to the point that Salgari can be thought of as the Italian Alexandre Dumas, with all that implies. The Sandokan stories are quite violent, fairly grisly, simplistic in its anti-Western, anti-white stances, and less-than-subtle narrative style, but if one can ignore those impediments one can have an adventurous good time with the stories and novels.
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