Thursday, April 5, 2012

Review - Pirate Hunter

I just finished Pirate Hunter by Tom Morrisey and I strongly recommend it. The book has an interesting structure. It follows two people living 30 years apart. The first one is an English-speaking African who was freed from a slave ship and given a place among a pirate crew. The second is a modern underwater archeologist who signed on with a salvage operation (treasure hunters). The two plots run in parallel as the young men establish their place, find romance, resolve their father issues, and face adversity.

The book is very well researched. The portrayals of the pirates are very good and the first couple of chapters in the present drop a lot of facts casually. The author writes with authority on sich diverse subjects as the inspiration for Shakespeare's The Tempest and the best place to get a hamburger in Key West.

I do have one quibble. Both characters have a mentor and, as an in joke, the author named them after historic pirates. That is fine for the present but it is confusing that the 18th century pirate with a long black beard, going by "Thatch" is not the Blackbeard (not that anyone ever calls him that).

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Francis Drake

Today is the anniversary of Francis Drake's knighting, 431 years ago. Wires has a recap of Drake's voyage that earned him the honor.

Technically, Drake was a privateer instead of a pirate although the Spanish wanted him hung as a pirate. It was not circumnavigating the Earth that won Drake his knighthood, it was the huge return he brought on Queen Elizabeth's investment. Drake's hold not only held Spanish gold, it also held tons of spices which were worth their weight in gold.