Salgari is a perfect example of the adventure writer of the 19th century. Captain Tempesta is the first book in a two part series about the conquest of Famagusta (Cyprus) by the Turks and the events that led to the battle of Lepanto.
The main characters are an Italian duchess - Leonor - who disguised as a man goes to Famagusta to free her fiancé, the viscount Le Hussiere who is prisoner of the Turks. She goes through several adventures to achieve his release namely a duel with the best swordsman of the Turkish army, Muley El Kadel, the son of the Lion of Damascus.
The Italian’s sense of honour wins her a friend in the Turkish warrior who ends up falling in love with her after finding out that she is a woman and playing a role in the release of Le Hussiere. The viscount is a prisoner of a cruel Muslim woman and his release will make her their mortal enemy. Leonor and Muley El Kadel will have to survive several confrontations with the enemy to make to safe land.
While this is a YA novel I found it as interesting an engaging as when I read it as a teenager. He writes very strong, and interesting, female characters. Both Leonor and Haradja are strong, skilled with weapons and know what they want. He also has a good sense of place, his vivid descriptions of historical places and historical events makes us almost believe that we are there, watching the action. Salgari's books were one of my first contacts with far away countries and different cultures and I can only recommend them to the younger generations as an excellent read.
I wrote this review in English of a book that was originally published in Italian and that I read in Portuguese, what a mix.
While I was looking for a nice cover online to go with this review I discovered that a movie was made in the forties based in this book. Now wouldn't it be be great if I could find it?