Thursday, December 3, 2015

Mount TBR #47

I read this book for the Mount TBR Reading Challenge hosted over at My Reader’s Block from January 1 – December 31, 2015. The challenge is to read books that you already own.

The King of Pirates: Being an Account of The Famous Enterprises of Captain Avery - Daniel Defoe

Defoe was professional writer so if he didn’t write he didn’t eat. So he produced a lot beyond Robinson Crusoe.

Capitalizing on the success of that one, he followed it up in 1719 with another book of adventure on the high seas. He inserted language that gave the impression that it is a true story told in the actual words of the pirate king. In fact, Defoe made the story up, filling the 100 pages or so with tales of rousing adventure and the inside skinny on a criminal subculture, ever popular topic.

Practically speaking, it is one thing to plunder and rob and pile up pieces of eight. It is quite another to find a place where the authorities won’t ask awkward questions like, “Did you get all this gold by pirating, dear sir?” So it is easy to get rich by buccaneering, but without a royal pardon (after paying a big bloody bribe), an ex-pirate can’t really live anywhere in peace.

An early work on the Jolly Roger guys, it does not include any of the conventional incidents we would find in, say, Howard Pyle, like making unlucky lubbers walk the plank or keel hauling them.

I enjoyed reading this, the antique diction and punctuation were a welcome change of pace.

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