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The True and Remarkable Adventures of Minerva Sharpe and Nancy Kington, Female Pirates
By Celia Rees
Thorndike Press Large Print (2004)
ISBN: 0-7862-6685-6
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult

Reviewed by Auggie Moore - May 7, 2007

Bereft of her mother at a young age, Nancy Kington grew up in a world of men. Living in Bristol, England, the daughter of a wealthy merchant, Nancy ran the docks, learned to balance her father's ledgers, and grew to love the ships that docked at Bristol, and to love a sailor. Shortly before she is to turn sixteen, Nancy is betrayed by her brothers. They are in dire need of money, and to get it, they send her out to Jamaica to be sold of as a bride to Bartholome, a wealthy and nefarious plantation owner who might once have been a buccaneer.

This story is set in the 1700's and while in Jamaica, Nancy sees the horrors of slavery and the callous disregard for life that is its companion, and she comes to discover, to her horror, that she's a slave owner. To escape her impending marriage and the horrors she sees all around her, Nancy flees with Minerva Sharpe, her slave and best friend. They Seek refuge first with a group of escaped slaves, and later, dressed as boys, with a group of pirates sailing on the Deliverance. From almost the moment that she flees, Nancy has a feeling that Bartholome is hunting for her, and that he will do anything - and kill anyone who gets in his way - in his quest to get his bride back.

Pirates!, was written by Celia Rees. The story is written in the first person and narrated by Nancy. The story is a full throttle swashbuckler with lots of loot, numerous battles, sword fights, mutinies, various love interests, and a host of near escapes from certain doom. On her own, Nancy would not be much of a heroine, but with the support of Minerva, who is strong-willed, determined, and self-assured, Nancy discovers hidden reserves of strength and courage that she never knew she possessed. In addition to being hunted by Bartholome, Nancy is also looking for William, her one true love, who has joined the British Navy.

Although written for young adults, this book will delight anyone with a craving for a lively adventure tale or an interest in pirates and pirate lore. The story is quick paced and finely detailed. The female characters in the story are lively and well represented, and Rees gives them the opportunity to throw away the bonds of society, and for Minerva, slavery, to grow into the women that they want to become - and not what is demanded of them by others. Pirates! is an excellent and highly entertaining story that I recommend to readers of all ages!

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