Pirates: Truth and Tale by Helen Hollick

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Pirates: Truth and Tale by Helen Hollick

Category: History
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Luke Marlowe
Reviewed by Luke Marlowe
Summary: Funny, fresh and endlessly entertaining, Helen Hollick plunges the reader ten fathoms deep into the fascinating world of pirates, and shows them a treasure chest filled with nuggets of information that prove the perfect starting place for more research, should the reader ever arise from Davy Jones Locker...
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 328 Date: February 2017
Publisher: Amberley Publishing
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1445652153

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The eighteenth century lived in terror of the tramps of the seas – pirates. Pirates have fascinated people ever since. It was a harsh life for those who went 'on the account', constantly overshadowed by the threat of death – through violence, illness, shipwreck, or the hangman's noose. The lure of gold, the excitement of the chase and the freedom that life aboard a pirate ship offered were judged by some to be worth the risk. Helen Hollick explores both the fiction and fact of the Golden Age of piracy, and there are some surprises in store for those who think they know their Barbary Corsair from their boucanier. Everyone has heard of Captain Morgan, but who recognises the name of the aristocratic Frenchman Daniel Montbars? He killed so many Spaniards he was known as 'The Exterminator'. The fictional world of pirates, represented in novels and movies, is different from reality. What draws readers and viewers to these notorious hyenas of the high seas? What are the facts behind the fantasy?

Helen Hollick is a Devon-based author who has previously worked mainly in the field of historical fiction - with books based on King Arthur in the Pendragon's Banner Trilogy, and on King Harold in the Lost Kingdom Saxon series. In addition, she's published five books in the Sea Witch Voyages series - books which are a pirate-based adventure series and, given on how they're described (a cross between Sharpe, Hornblower and Indiana Jones), ones I'll be reading in due course! It stands to reason then, that Hollick is something of an expert in the field of pirates, having written five books about their fictional adventures. Bringing this knowledge to the world of non-fiction, she's created something genuinely rather special in Pirates: Truth and Tales

Do you love apple dumplings? Enjoy Cackle Fruit with your Chatter Broth? Scared of catching Flapdragon when you Crack Jenny's teacup whilst Full as a Goat? If you want to know what any of those phrases mean, then this is the book for you! This is no dry history tome - instead Hollick brings her skills as a fiction author to the table and puts them to excellent use - this book is fantastically paced and hugely well crafted, allowing the reader to either devour it in one go as a fun and thrilling introduction to the true history of pirates, or to pick it up and digest small morsels of information as they turn from page to page - learn about endlessly fascinating people who turned to lives of piracy, learn how to speak like a Pirate, and learn how authors got their inspiration when creating famous, fictional pirates.

There's a rather electric sense of fun and liveliness buzzing through this whole book, and whilst it's no definitive guide to the world of pirates, it serves well as an incredibly detailed introduction - opening up new areas of interest for the reader to explore in their own time. Hollick's clear enthusiasm for the subject courses through the pages, and I daresay that by closing the final page of this book, the reader will be about ready to pull on an eye patch, grab a cutlass and break out into some sea shanties (words for which Hollick has kindly provided in her book)! If you're feeling ready for some dangerous adventures on the High Seas, then curl up with Helen Hollick's Pirates: Turth or Tale - it comes well recommend from this scurvy sea dog. Many thanks to the publishers for the copy.

For further reading I recommend A Fiery and Furious People: A History of Violence in England by James Sharpe. It's a far weightier tome than Pirates: Truth or Tale, but nevertheless manages explore a fascinating and often bloody subject in a way that keeps it constantly fresh and entertaining for the reader.

Buy Pirates: Truth and Tale by Helen Hollick at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Pirates: Truth and Tale by Helen Hollick at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Pirates: Truth and Tale by Helen Hollick at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Pirates: Truth and Tale by Helen Hollick at Amazon.com.


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