Ahoy, Ye Landlubbers!

The Pirate Blackbeard's Castle, on the Island of St. Thomas, 1902 (from the Library of Congress)

If you didn’t recognize a single word in the title of today’s blog, you might want to venture on over to our Mango Languages database and learn yourself some Pirate Speak! And if you missed International Speak Like a Pirate Day on September 19, then you’ll be able to practice for next year. Mango, in addition to over 30 foreign languages and 15 ESL courses, offers a course in Pirate – which makes the whole system worthwhile, n’est-ce pas? (You can learn French there, too.)

Alas, if you missed out on the fun,  get your pirate fix from one of these books. Or you could just walk the plank.



Djibouti – Elmore Leonard

  • In a modern-day pirate story, ambitious documentary filmmaker Dara Barr and her right-hand man, Xavier LeBo, a seventy-two-year-old African American seafarer, get more than they bargained for on the Horn of Africa.

Fast Ships, Black Sails

  • Adventure, treasure, intrigue, humor, romance, danger – and, yes, plunder! An incredibly entertaining volume of original stories guaranteed to make you walk and talk like a pirate.

Flint and Silver: A Prequel to Treasure Island – John Drake

  • A prequel to Treasure Island follows the adventures of Long John Silver and Joseph Flint as they first became friends, teaming up to terrorize Spanish ships, and then bitter enemies, fighting over their crew and treasure.

Frenchman’s Creek – Daphne DuMaurier

  • During the reign of Charles II, a rebellious noblewoman abandons her Cornwall estate to sail with her pirate lover.

Pirate Latitudes – Michael Crichton

  • English Captain Charles Hunter and his crew of ruffians sail from colonial Jamaica to infiltate a Spanish-controlled port, commandeering the galleon El Trinidad and its fortune in gold after a bloody battle.

Pirate Freedom – Gene Wolfe

  • A young priest fresh out of seminary, Father Christopher finds himself inexplicably swept back in time to the Golden Age of Piracy, where he finds himself caught up in the life of a buccaneer and trolling the waters of the Caribbean in search of Spanish gold.

Pirate Talk, or Mermalade – Terese Svoboda

  • Told through dialogue, two brothers fall into piracy after the death of their mother, where they encounter a mermaid, get stranded on a desert island, become prisoners of a slaver, and go to the Arctic.

Silver: My Own Tale as Written by Me With a Goodly Amount of Murder – Edward Chupack

  • En route to England for execution, the unapologetic villain of Treasure Island, Long John Silver, shares the story of his life, from his poverty-stricken childhood to his murderous ascent to pirate captain, and offers clues to a long-lost treasure.

Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson

  • While going through the possessions of a deceased guest who owed them money, the mistress of the inn and her son find a treasure map that leads them to a notorious pirate’s fortune.

Wake of the Perdido Star – Gene Hackman & Daniel Lenihan

  • Journeying to Cuba with his parents aboard the Perdido Star, teenager Jack O’Reilly finds his life turned upside down by the murders of his parents and the confiscation of their land, and embarks on a desperate quest for vengeance in the guise of the pirate “Black Jack”.



Blackbeard: America’s Most Notorious Pirate – Angus Konstam

  • Examining the latest historical and archaeological research, a meticulously detailed study of the most notorious pirate of his era describes his violent career in the Caribbean and off the coast of North America, from his early pirate apprenticeship to his death in a sea battle off the coast of North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

Empire of Blue Water: Captain Morgan’s Great Pirate Army, the Epic Battle for the Americas, and the Catastrophe That Ended the Outlaws’ Bloody Reign – Stephan Talty

  • Chronicles the real-life adventures of Welsh pirate Henry Morgan and his exploits in the Caribbean in the service of the English, from his attacks on Spanish merchant ships to his final assault on Panama that ended Spanish domination of the New World.

Pirate Hunter of the Caribbean: The Adventurous Life of Captain Woodes Rogers – David Cordingly

  • Profiles the life and adventures of the governor of the Bahamas who hunted down some of the best known pirates of his day, including Blackbeard, Charles Vane, and Anne Bonny.

The Pirates Laffite: The Treacherous World of the Corsairs of the Gulf – William C. Davis

  • Traces the lives of cooperative privateers Jean and Pierre Laffite, describing their trade in contraband goods, their rivalry with Spanish merchants, their key membership in a corrupt New Orleans syndicate, and their work as paid spies.

Pirates of Barbary: Corsairs, Conquests, and Captivity in the Seventeenth-Century Mediterranean – Adrian Tinniswood

  • Describes how the clashes between pirates of the East – Tunis, Algiers, and Tripoli – and governments of the West- England, France, Spain, and Venice – grew increasingly intense and dangerous, and how that sheds light on the religious and moral battles that still rage there today.

The Pirates of Somalia: Inside Their Hidden World – Jay Bahadur

  • This riveting narrative examines the world of the Somalian pirates: how they live, the forces that have created piracy in Somalia, how they spend the ransom money, and how they deal with their hostages.

Pirates: The Complete History from 1300 BC to the Present Day – Angus Konstam

  • Traces the history of piracy from ancient Greece to the present.

The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down – Colin Woodward

  • Describes how a group of powerful pirate captains joined forces to create a powerful den of thieves, which led to a distinctive form of democracy in the Bahamas, one that ultimately was destroyed by a merchant fleet owner and former privateer.


Annotations are courtesy of NoveList Plus.

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