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Pirate Book

The History of Pirates
by Angus Konstam

The History of Pirates is a well organized primer on pirates from ancient times to the present day.

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What Readers
are Saying

“S.R. Staley transports you back to a time when the flapping of canvas, the roar of ships' cannons, and the flash of cutlasses are seen through the smell of gunpowder and smoke. The Pirate of Panther Bay, the young Isabella, prowls the seas. She is dogged by a Spanish man-o-war commanded by a dashing young Spaniard who also commands her heart. A great adventure romance!”
-- Robert, Chapel Hill, NC

Book Review

The Buccaneers
by Iain Lawrence

3 stars
The Buccaneers is a highly readable yarn, solidly in the tradition of Treasure Island.

In Brief...

We liked:
  • Breezy writing style
  • The lead character—18 year old John Spencer
  • Homage to classic pirate tales of lost treasure
  • Historical accuracy of pirate ships

Things we weren’t so keen on:
  • Simple plot
  • No romantic interest (until the last pages)
  • Somewhat contrived ending

Our Review

The Buccaneers is a highly readable yarn, solidly in the tradition of Treasure Island. The third installment of a high-seas trilogy by Canadian writer Iain Lawrence, this story picks up easily from the earlier novels taking John Spencer, our young hero, into the treacherous waters of the Caribbean around 1802.

Under the watchful, if tired, eyes of Captain Butterfield, John is completing his apprenticeship on his father’s merchant ship the Dragon. All appears to be going well until they pick up a mysterious sailor—Mr. Horn—drifting in the Atlantic Ocean.

Mr. Horn, it turns out, is not an ordinary tar. He was cast off from a ship that had been attacked by pirates led by the legendary Bartholomew Grace. Rather than be killed, Horn signs up with the pirates and, as they say, the dice were cast. Indeed, Horn’s attempt to escape his fate—the gallows—rests on Bartholomew Grace in the end, a twist that complicates John Spencer’s trip home beyond imagination as the tale comes to a close.

Horn travels with the Dragon to exotic ports including Jamaica and Trinidad. Near disaster befalls the hapless crew as they run into Captain Grace and his pirate brig the Apostle. After a brief duel, the Dragon is forced to repair the damage from Grace’s cannon or risk going to Davy Jones’s locker.

John and Captain Butterfield beach the Dragon on the island of Culebra, just east of Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, Culebra turns out to be the rumored site of Captain Kidd’s lost treasure, much to the dismay of Spencer and Horn. The pace picks up as the unlucky crew of the Dragon is quickly faced with warding off the cutthroat Grace and his band of pirates. John Spencer must use his wits and the questionable loyalty of an old friend discovered among Grace’s crew to make it home alive to England.

The Buccaneers is lively and easy to read. The characters are both likable and believable, although John Spencer is unrelenting in his honesty and sense of honor. Lawrence does an admirable job of weaving classic pirate tales into the plot, giving it enough of a twist to keep us interested and reading on.

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