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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

by Celia Rees

3 stars
Pirates! is a highly readable and enjoyable adventure of two female pirates, British heiress Nancy Kington and her slave Minerva Sharpe.

In Brief...

We liked:
  • The story and theme—two young girls challenging the unfairness of the 18th century
  • Readable style and prose
  • Strong key characters
  • Factually correct portrayal of pirate life
  • Vivid portrait of slave life in 18th century

Things we weren’t so keen on:
  • Action begins late in the book
  • Tends to romanticize pirate life—pirate life was a lot more mean and harsh

Our Review

Pirates! is a highly readable and enjoyable adventure of two girl pirates, British heiress Nancy Kington and her slave Minerva Sharpe. The story, set in 1722, begins when Nancy is sent to her father’s Jamaican sugar plantation in the wake of his untimely death. Rather than submit to an arranged marriage with a wealthy (and mean) neighboring planter, Nancy runs off with Minerva.

Their adventures take them to the hills of Jamaica where they live with maroons (escaped slaves and pirates) and eventually join a band of pirates on a transformed merchantman renamed the Deliverance. Their pirating ways take them through the West Indies, up the Atlantic Coast of North America, and eventually to Africa and Madagascar.

Pirates!, unfortunately, has a few weak points. We don’t make it to Jamaica until page 93 and onto the pirate ship until page 183 (about half way). That’s a lot of background that could probably have been handled more quickly (although we get an engaging introduction to early 18th century life in a British seaport and life on a Jamaican plantation along the way).

While the Celia Rees does a nice job of describing the brutish horror of West Indian slavery, she seems to romanticize pirate life.

Finally, Nancy’s heart belongs to a British naval officer, William, but his role seems to be little more than a detail in the story. But, perhaps this is simply setting up the next book in the series, which will be anxiously looking for in the (we hope) not too distant fiture.

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