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Emilio Salgari
Jules Verne
Sandokan: The Tigers of Mompracem
The Tigers of Mompracem are a band of rebel pirates fighting for the defense of tiny native kingdoms against the colonial powers of the Dutch and British empires. They are led by Sandokan, the indomitable “Tiger of Malaysia”, and his faithful friend Yanez De Gomera, a Portuguese wanderer and adventurer. Orphaned when the British murdered his family and stole his throne, Sandokan has been mercilessly leading his men in vengeance. But when the pirate learns of the existence of the extraordinary “Pearl of Labuan” his fortunes begin to change…perhaps forever….
Sandokan: Salgari's Greatest Hero
  Sandokan "The Tiger of Malaysia" is Emilio Salgari's most enduring creation. Orphaned when the British murdered his family and stole his throne, Sandokan gathered a legion of pirates and took to the sea to attain his vengeance. Under the command of Sandokan and his loyal friend Yanez de Gomera, the Tigers of Mompracem fight for the defense of tiny native kingdoms against the colonial powers of the Dutch and British empires.
  The first Sandokan adventure appeared in serial form in the La Nuova Arena in 1883, and was published as Le tigri di Mompracem in 1900. The tale proved so popular, the characters so intriguing, that it spawned a legion of sequels, pitting Sandokan and Yanez against a variety of enemies: Rajah James Brooke, Governor of Sarawak, better known as The Exterminator for the merciless way he hunted down pirates; the Thugs of the Kali cult in the Indian Sunderbands, and a variety of petty dictators and colonial powers. Salgari's pen transformed the bloodthirsty pirate into a noble warrior, a kind of Malay Robin Hood, imbuing his characters with a strong sense of idealism, passion, and loyalty.
  It wasn't long before Sandokan spread to other forms of media, from theater and music to television and film. Legendary Hollywood body builder, Steve Reeves gave North America its first glimpse of the Malay pirate in the 1963 MGM film Sandokan the Great, doing well enough at the box office to spawn a sequel the following year. Two more movies were made in the mid 60s starring Ray Danton.
  However, it wasn't until 1976, when three European production houses united to create a TV miniseries based on Mr. Salgari's novels, that the quintessential Sandokan was found. Kabir Bedi rocked Europe with his portrayal of the Malayan pirate, bringing in 27 million weekly viewers in Italy alone. A sequel was made La tigre e ancora viva: Sandokan alla Riscossa! the following year which also proved popular. Bedi's Sandokan was the most marketed miniseries of its time and to this day his is the face of the Malay pirate.
  The 90s saw Sandokan's adventures return to the small screen. BBI in Spain had Sandokan drawn as a tiger. The series was quite popular throughout Europe and is now available on DVD. RAI also produced an animated version with Italian production house Mondo TV, now in its third series. Check out the animation section to view images and video clips. Both were wery popular in and generated a number of toys and video games. DVDs in English of the Spanish aniamted series are available online.
Watch the most famous scene from Sergio Solima's classic Sandokan mini series. Kabir Bedi, the ultimate Sandokan, battles a tiger to save his beloved Marianna.
Excerpt from a review by Prof. Georges T. Dodds,
  Ah... finally some books to keep me up reading until 3 a.m. rather than putting them down -- it sure has been awhile! Emilio Salgari's pirate tale, The Tigers of Mompracem, serialized in the Italian newspaper La Nuova Arena in 1883-4, first published in book form in 1900, and here translated for the first time into English, is so chock full of action that the best cultural equivalent in North America that I could propose would have been the better dime-novel adventures of the late 19th-early 20th century. Or, perhaps think Douglas Fairbanks Sr.'s swashbuckling movies, or, if in a different genre, the Indiana Jones films -- this is the sort of thing Salgari has put to paper. Variously termed the father of heroes, the Italian Verne, the Italian Dumas, the father of Italian adventure fiction and even the grandfather of the Spaghetti Western, by his countrymen, Salgari sure could write a top-notch adventure novel.
Excerpt from review by Cindy Vallar, Thistles and Pirates
First written around 1883, Sandokan: The Tigers of Mompracem is the first in a series of swashbuckling adventures written by the Italian author Emilio Salgari. This book introduces readers to the exotic world of Borneo and Malaysia at a time when Europeans held power, rather than the local people who had lived on the islands for centuries. This tale captivates the reader and sweeps him/her back in time on a whirlwind ride through storm-swept seas and lush tropical jungles inhabited by dangerous beasts.Salgari convincingly portrays this fearless pirate and his struggles between the world he knows and the love he feels for a woman who is one of the enemy. Nico Lorenzutti’s translation of this tale is seamless, and reminds readers of the serial movies once shown at movie theaters. You might go to see the feature film, but you cheer the heroes and sit on the edge of your seat as each new episode reveals another twist to a tale of adventure and thrills.
Paperback | 272 pages | ISBN 978-0978270780 Published 15 Sep 2011
Banner Image: Kabir Bedi as Sandokan in Sandokan a la riscossa, 1977.
The Sandokan Series
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