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Old 07-22-2011, 11:47 AM
Buddinge is offline
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Pirate novel recommendation?

Could anybody recommend an absolutely awesome novel about pirates? Preferably well-researched, historically correct, realistic, etc.

(And yes, I've already read Treasure Island. Twice. )
Old 07-22-2011, 01:16 PM
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If you like a fantasy element, Tim Powers's On Stranger Tides more than fills the bill (it's also well-researched and historically correct otherwise).
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Old 07-22-2011, 01:20 PM
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The Pyrates - George MacDonald Fraser
Old 07-22-2011, 01:23 PM
gallows fodder is offline
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Rafael Sabatini's Captain Blood. Then watch the movie with Errol Flynn.
Old 07-22-2011, 01:43 PM
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I want to simply second RealityChuck's plug for Tim Powers' On Stranger Tides. It really is an awesome book.

A couple of not-quite-on-topic recommendations:

Peter Earle's excellent history of The Sack of Panama offers an excellent look at piracy in the Caribbean, and the pirate career of Captain Henry Morgan. It's not a novel, but at times it reads like one.

While it's not a book, and the historical accuracy is a bit questionable (Though I can't say it's been falsified, precisely - who can tell what the true history of Cornwall might really be?) if you're looking for a fun pirate story you can't go wrong with Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance. I have a fondness for the 1983 version with Linda Ronstadt, Kevin Kline, and Angela Lansbury, mentioned here. It's not the most accurate production, but Kevin Kline as The Pirate King is well worth it.
Old 07-22-2011, 01:46 PM
ITR champion is offline
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Originally Posted by Buddinge View Post
Could anybody recommend an absolutely awesome novel about pirates?
The Walrus and the Warwolf, by Hugh Cook.

Preferably well-researched, historically correct, realistic, etc.
I'm sure that the dragons, sea serpents, magic snakes that make people immune to drunkenness and disease, crashed spaceships from the future, ogres, magical bottles that contain entire worlds, and magical rocks that turn people into rocks are extremely historically accurate.

Then again, maybe Tanith Lee's Piratica would be more up your alley.
Old 07-22-2011, 02:09 PM
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A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates by Charles Johnson is a must read for anyone who likes pirates. It's a non-fiction book originally published in the 1720s. This book, more than any other, is responsible for how we view pirates. You can see that this book influenced both Treasure Island and Peter Pan. It even has a pirate in there with a peg leg! The Adventures of Roderick Random by Tobias Smollett isn't exactly a pirate novel but the main character ends up on a ship twice. Once on a privateer and again when he was press ganged only a warship. You may recognize Smollett's name as he was the captain of the Hispanola in Treasure Island. No doubt this book left an impression on R.L Stevenson as well.
Old 07-22-2011, 03:14 PM
charmstr is offline
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Originally Posted by gallows fodder View Post
Rafael Sabatini's Captain Blood. Then watch the movie with Errol Flynn.
Be prepared. Swashes will be buckled.

BTW, I bow to no man as a fan of Tim Powers, and On Stranger Tides is a great choice too. In instances like this though, it's often best to go with the classics.

Hugh Cook and, god help us, Tanith Fucking Lee don't write historically correct, realistic pirate books.
Old 07-22-2011, 03:45 PM
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Pirate Freedom
Old 07-22-2011, 05:03 PM
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As for nonfiction, American Colonies, by Alan Taylor is a good modern source. Learn about the real Pirates of the Caribbean! How, in the early days, the line between the Royal Navy and privateers was as blurry as the line between privateers and pirates. (Captain Morgan -- yes, that one -- once was Provisional Governor of Jamaica.) And how there was sometimes a class-war element to it -- when pirates captured a ship they would put the captain on trial, and hang or spare him according to his crew's testimony as to his cruelty or kindness; and many turned to piracy as an escape from the rigid, hierarchical society of the time and the abominable discipline of naval and merchant vessels.
Old 07-24-2011, 11:07 AM
Buddinge is offline
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On Stranger Tides, it is...

Thanks guys
Old 07-24-2011, 11:18 AM
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There's pirates in Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle.
Old 07-24-2011, 11:29 AM
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Do not waste your time reading Michael Chrichton's last book "Pirate Latitudes" (published posthumously). Very poorly researched - lots of errors regarding those old sailing galleons. To give him credit, I will assume that if he had been still alive he would never have let the book out in the condition it was.
Old 07-24-2011, 11:49 AM
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The three books I was going to recommend - Captain Blood, On Stranger Tides, and The Pyrates - have all been mentioned already. So I'll just second them.

I will point out that none of them let accuracy and realism get in the way of a good story.

Last edited by Little Nemo; 07-24-2011 at 11:49 AM.
Old 07-24-2011, 02:59 PM
Alka Seltzer is offline
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Originally Posted by Buddinge View Post
Could anybody recommend an absolutely awesome novel about pirates?
The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists was the first thing that came to mind.

Originally Posted by Ardal O'Hanlan
A short, deliriously funny novel about incredibly stupid pirates and ham, which will hopefully signal the demise of long, unfunny novels set on land.
Originally Posted by Buddinge View Post
Preferably well-researched, historically correct, realistic, etc.
Oh. It's well researched, kind of....
Old 07-24-2011, 03:27 PM
Reno Nevada is offline
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Many of my favorites have been mentioned--On Stranger Tides, Captain Blood, The Walrus and the Warwolf, and The Pyrates are all wonderful books in their own special ways. None of them are particularly historically accurate, though. Another novel that feels a little closer to Reality and farther from Romance that I can recommend is called The Guardship by James L. Nelson.

Last edited by Reno Nevada; 07-24-2011 at 03:28 PM. Reason: italicizing
Old 07-24-2011, 10:25 PM
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It's a mixed bag, but you might try John Steinbeck's Cup of Gold, a fictionalized biography of Welsh pirate Henry ("I prefer to be called a privateer") Morgan.
Old 07-25-2011, 12:06 PM
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Not sure it qualifies as a full-on pirate novel, but I would highly recommend Matthew Kneale's English Passengers.

Originally Posted by Review
Captain Illiam Quillian Kewley wants only to smuggle a little tobacco, brandy, and French pornography from the Isle of Mann to a secluded beach in England. Yet somehow in the process, he and his crew end up weighing anchor for Australia. Worse, they're forced to carry three temperamental Englishmen bound for Tasmania on a mission to discover the exact location of the Garden of Eden. The year is 1857, and the study of geology is beginning to make serious inroads into areas of religious doctrine. When the Reverend Geoffrey Wilson runs across a scientific treatise that puts the age of Silurian limestone somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred thousand years, he is scandalized: "This was despite the fact that the Bible tells, and with great clarity, that the earth was created a mere six thousand years ago." His many attempts to prove the Bible's accuracy lead, eventually, to a scientific expedition comprising himself, Timothy Renshaw, a dilettante botanist, and Dr. Thomas Potter.

Now jump back 30 years, to 1828, when a revolution of sorts is stirring on the island of Tasmania. Over the years, white settlers have been encroaching on aboriginal land and relations have deteriorated into violence. At the heart of the action is Peevay, a young half-breed abandoned by his aborigine mother, who had been kidnapped and raped by a white escaped convict. Now his vengeful mother is leading a war against the whites, and Peevay, desperate to win her love, has joined her. Chapters from the past narrated by Peevay and augmented by letters and dispatches from white settlers alternate with the sections told by Kewley, Wilson, Renshaw, and Potter. Eventually, of course, the two time lines intersect with momentous results.


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