Title: Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the
Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship
Author: Robert Kurson
Publisher: Random House
Expected Release Date: June 16, 2015
Acquired: Netgalley ARC
Date Finished: April 15, 2015
Finding and identifying a pirate ship is the hardest thing to do under the sea. But two men—John Chatterton and John Mattera—are willing to risk everything to find the Golden Fleece, the ship of the infamous pirate Joseph Bannister. At large during the Golden Age of Piracy in the seventeenth century, Bannister’s exploits would have been more notorious than Blackbeard’s, more daring than Kidd’s, but his story, and his ship, have been lost to time. If Chatterton and Mattera succeed, they will make history—it will be just the second time ever that a pirate ship has been discovered and positively identified. Soon, however, they realize that cutting-edge technology and a willingness to lose everything aren’t enough to track down Bannister’s ship. They must travel the globe in search of historic documents and accounts of the great pirate’s exploits, face down dangerous rivals, battle the tides of nations and governments and experts. But it’s only when they learn to think and act like pirates—like Bannister—that they become able to go where no pirate hunters have gone before.
I don’t typically read non-fiction. It is usually too dry and boring for my tastes, but Robert Kurson writes non-fiction like an action-packed tale of fiction. This was like reading a really good documentary. It was full of interesting information, interesting history and interesting characters. There were no lulls or moments I regretted jumping into this story.
I’ve always been interested in pirates, but Black Sails, a show that just wrapped up its second season on Starz, recently lit a fire under my previously forgotten fascination. So, I went in search of some good pirate fiction! I was rather disappointed in my options. There was a lot of really goofy stuff out there, but Pirate Hunters caught my eye. I am so glad I decided to step outside of my usual genres! Joseph Bannister, the pirate captain they are searching for in the book, reminded me a lot of Capt. Flint from Black Sails. He was audacious, fearless, and seriously cunning. He pulled off things no one would dream possible.
In addition to interesting character studies, the information about pirate lifestyle and code was amazing. Pirates introduced democracy long before it was in the U.S. They voted on just about everything and every vote counted equally. Black pirates were also accepted and treated as equals almost 150 years before slavery was abolished in America. However, if a pirate smuggled a woman on board, he was killed. Apparently, they took that infraction very seriously. Pirates even had their own version of Workers’ Compensation. If they lost or injured a body part, they would be compensated according to the body part. For instance, the loss of your right arm entitled you to 500 pieces of silver. If you lost your hook or peg leg, it was considered the same as losing the original body part. Hilarious!
I totally recommend giving this book a try! Kurson brilliantly wove together the past and the present while keeping both eras interesting. If you are like me and non-fiction is not your typical fare, I encourage you to try something new. You just might enjoy it.
I’d like to give a shout out to Netgalley, Random House, and Robert Kurson for giving me the opportunity to read and review this ARC.