She was portrayed by Maud Adams in the 1980 film The Hostage Tower and by Alexandra Paul in the movies Detonator / Death Train (1993) and Detonator II: Night Watch (1995).
The character's background is different depending on the writer of a specific book in the 10-book series and any movied based on these. In effect, Sabrina Carver has (at least) two different backgrounds.
Hostage Tower & Air Force One is Down
The two first novels were written by John Edwards and Dennis Frost based on notes by Alistair MacLean. In these books Sabrina Carver was an exquisite beauty from Iowa who had from age nine been a thief. When she tried to steal (a brooch) for the first time she was caught by her mother. At that moment she decided that she would never be caught again – and she never was. Carver stole to buy things and because it was fun. She loved a challenge. At age 17 she graduated high school and headed to New York and the millions she would soon amass as a daring and exceptional jewel thief. The first movie is based on the first book.
Death Train and Onward
The next six novels were written solely by MacLean and the remaining movies were based on these. Carver's background changed considerably but remained consistent from this point forward.
Sabrina Carver came from a rich family and she lived a pampered youth. She travelled extensively in Europe and got a degree in Romanic languages in Sorbonne. Besides her academic studies Sabrina was also an extremely good athlete. In her early 20s she was a race driver until she was involved in a serious crash with a Porsche in Le Mans at the age of 23.
Sabrina was a gym nut and kept in top shape; she trained martial arts and became a black belt in karate at the age of 24.
Before joining UNACO she worked for the FBI as a firearms specialist.
While working for the FBI Sabrina was contacted by Philpott and a meeting was arranged. Initially Philpott was not impressed by the 26-years old Carver, but during the meeting he came to see Sabrina as a friendly and highly intelligent young woman. She was not a vain rich girl as he had expected. Despite his initial misgivings he hired Sabrina and has never regretted this.
Philpott was impressed both by Sabrina's beauty and her skills and put them to good use. Her language skills were used to create her a UNACO cover as a UN interpreter. Her martial arts skills were so good she taught karate to other agents. And thanks to her firearms skills Sabrina was the best sharpshooter that Philpott had ever met; she was able to hit any target both stationary and moving. Philpott also admired her strength of character and determination.
Sabrina was so beautiful and had such a style that she looked like she came from the cover of a fashion magazine. She was a classic beauty with high cheekbones, small nose, and a delicate mouth. She had sparkling green eyes and her shoulder length blonde hair with chestnut brown stripes was usually worn in a ponytail. She hated makeup and used it sparingly only to enhance her natural beauty
Most of the above, even if not explicitly mentioned in the movies Death Train and Nightwatch, hold true for the Sabrina Carver portrayed by Alexandra Paul. This is not the case for the character portrayed by Maude Adams. Even if Carver and Graham (another UNACO agent) worked together in Hostage Tower, they did not know each other in the beginning of Death Train.
Sabrina was a beautiful woman with dark brown hair and hazel eyes. In Death Train her hair was long while in Nightwatch it was really short. She was 178 cm tall and weighed 62 kg; her build was athletic.
Sabrina is friendly and a highly intelligent young woman. She is known for her strength of character and determination. Sabrina is charismatic and coupled with her beauty is able seduce people and defuse tense situations. She has a good sense of humor.
As a child she developed a fear of rats that still affects her as an adult. She is a culinarist and likes jazz music and dancing.
Skills and Abilities
Carver was a highly skilled hand-to-hand combatant (black belt in karate) able to fight and defeat several larger enemies at the same time. She was skilled with all small arms like pistols, submachine guns and assault rifles; she excelled with sniper rifles. She was also proficient with larger weapons like rocket launchers. She was good with computers and as an UNACO agent she was naturally skilled with all kinds of surveillance, communication and other spy gear.
Carver was in peak human physical condition and excelled at running, being both a fast and durable runner.
Carver speaks several languages fluently.
She is also a skilled race driver.
In the Death train movie, Mike Graham's (a former Delta Force officer and CIA operative, current UNACO agent) first impression of Carver was that she was extremely beautiful and thought she was Malcolm Philpott's (the founder and head of UNACO), secretary or girlfriend. Graham wasn't happy when he was told she was his teammate. Graham thought she was iffy and couldn't be counted on, "She's too good-looking to be anything more than window-dressing."
Philpott's simple reply was "Ms. Carver speaks four languages; she runs a mile faster than you ever did, and she's the best marksman I've ever known."
Sabrina Carver appears in three movies:
- The Hostage Tower (1980)
- Detonator (a.k.a. Death Train) (1993)
- Detonator II: Night Watch (1995)
And ten novels:
- Hostage Tower (1980)
- Air Force One is Down (1981)
- Death Train (1989)
- Night Watch (1989 )
- Red Alert (1990)
- Time of the Assassins (1991)
- Dead Halt (1992)
- Code Breaker (1993)
- Prime Target (1997)
- Borrowed Time (1998)
- The writer/director, David Jackson, wrote the part with Alexandra Paul in mind.