Peter Blood, after years of adventuring as a soldier, has now decided to retire and be a physician in the English countryside. Unfortunately, a rebellion breaks out in the area again King James. Blood wants nothing to do with the rebellion, but when a friend is wounded in the fighting, Blood feels it his duty as a physician to help the man. While performing surgery on the rebel friend, though, the king's forces appear and take all of them into captivity. Though Blood is innocent of taking part in the rebellion, he is convicted for aiding the rebels, and as punishment, Blood is shipped to the Caribbean to be a slave in the English colonies.
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Blood is purchased by Colonel Bishop at the behest of his niece Arabella, who sees in him some mysterious strength. Though Bishop is a cruel master, the situation proves relatively fortunate for Blood because he is able to perform his duties as a doctor for the wealthier citizens of the island. Blood resents his bondage, though, and along with the other slaves, he plots a daring escape. Just when it seems that his plans are going to be foiled, though, the island is attacked by pirates. Blood is then able to gather the slaves on the island, and while the pirates are all in the city carousing, Blood leads the slaves in capturing the pirate ship. With a ship and the spoils of the pirates' raid, Blood is then able to turn his efforts to piracy.
Blood determines to be an honorable pirate, however. The primary enemy of the English and of Blood is the Spanish, so Blood's crew only attacks Spanish ships. Blood proves himself to be an extremely successful leader. He captures several Spanish ships, and his most daring raid is on the Spanish settlement Maracaibo. There, his ships are trapped in a bay by four Spanish warships. At night, Blood's crew rams through the blockade with the use of a fireship, and they escape.
Captain Blood continues his fighting against the Spanish, and in one daring battle, he rescues two people who had been hostages on a Spanish ship. The first of these is Arabella Bishop who had earlier saved Blood's life by convincing her uncle to purchase him. Blood has long had an infatuation for Arabella, and it is hinted that Arabella returns these feelings, though she is turned off by Blood's pirating lifestyle, of which she had heard only untruthful stories. The other passenger is Lord Julian who informs Blood that the rulers of England have changed. William and Mary have ascended to the throne in place of King James, and as a result, Blood's former conviction in a rebellion against James no longer matters. Furthermore, England is at war with Spain, and they want Blood's help. Blood at first turns down this commission, but when English ships commanded by Colonel Bishop arrive, Blood takes the commission in order to save his life. Bishop, however, won't accept Blood's newfound position, and Blood has to make an escape in order to avoid the gallows.
Once again at sea, Blood happens upon a sinking ship. Blood's crew rescues the survivors, among whom are two ambassadors sent by William and Mary to take Colonel Bishop's position as commander of the English properties in the Caribbean. They hear about Bishop's betrayal of Blood, and they determine to return to Port Royal. They find that it has been abandoned by Bishop, who has left with the English fleet in pursuit of Blood. The ambassadors are angry at Bishop's incompetence, and they need a new governor for the island. They appoint Captain Blood to Colonel Bishop's old position. The Colonel is horrified by this turn of events once he returns home. Blood, however, is happy for the opportunity, particularly since it now puts him in position to pursue Arabella's affections.
The review of this Book prepared by J.C. Pierce