Saturday, 14 January 2012

Yo ho ho, and a bottle of rum!

So, me hearties, I hear tell you're wanting to writing a book on pirates, ay?  Well, you've come to the right      place, and no mistake!  That's right, me hearties.  Today I'm blogging about some of the best pirate books I know - the ones that came in right handy when I was writing Dido's Prize, my own take on the pirates of the Spanish Main.

1.  Perhaps the best book of all is Pirates! An A - Z Encyclopedia by Jan Rogozinski.  I picked this book up while browsing through the shelves at the Serendipity Bookshop and it has proven invaluable.  Almost every pirate you can think of - real or imagined - is in this book and it covers all time periods and locations so if you're wanting information on the pirates who roamed the Barbary coast or on Asian pirates, French pirates or English, pirate poems or pirate movies then this book should be the one you turn to first.

2.  Pirate, an Eyewitness Book is one of those Dorling Kindersley books that help to bring the past alive with gorgeous pictures and snappy text.  This gives you a lot of information about the kinds of foods pirates ate, how they navigated, the weapons they used, life at sea and much more.  It's also got sections on Caribbean piracy, pirates of the Indian Ocean, American privateers and others so it gives you a good overview.

3.  Jolly Roger: The Story of the Great Age of Piracy by Patrick Pringle takes an in-depth look at the lives and exploits of some of the most famous pirates.  Captain Kidd, Henry Morgan and several others are discussed here as are the various pirate flags and the rise and fall of the Brethren of the Coast.  Pringle quotes extensively from original sources so the book gives a good insight into the language and tenor of the times.

4.  The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd is a fascinating look at the man behind the story.  According to Zack's research, Kidd was just a good guy gone bad whose arrogance and lack of political acumen cost him both his reputation and his life.  It's an amazing read!

5.  Last, but by no means least, if you're into pirates, John Esquemeling's book, The Buccaneers of America, should definitely be on your bookshelf.  First published in the late 1600s, the book is Esquemeling's account of Henry Morgan's sack of Porto Bello, Panama - one of the most audacious adventures in pirating history!


  1. Looks like you know your pirate stuff. Good to know. It's unlikely I'll be writing a pirate story any time soon, but you never know when this info will come in handy :-)

  2. Hi Empi, I've been hearing about pirates since I was knee-high to a grasshopper as there were quite a few plying their trade in and around the Virgin Islands so I guess it's only natural I'd grow up to write a pirate book! And these books I've listed are great - really give you a feel for the time and the life they lived.

  3. I read you post much earlier in the day on my mobile device but couldn't comment but I wanted to say thank you, this is incredibly interesting.
    Thank you for following my blog as well. I'm so happy you did so I could get to know about yours and meet you.

  4. Thanks, Wendy! That was lovely of you to say and I'm glad you liked this list - there are quite a lot of pirate books out there but I think any writer with these in her library should have all she needs to write a decent story.