All true works of literary genius share three common traits:
1) They possess a timeless relevence
2) They speak to the reader on a level that is both highly personal yet universal
and 3) They most always feature a monocled-monkey on the cover, frequently clutching a pirate flag.
Based on this criteria alone, Gideon Defoe’s sure-to-be legendary novel of pirates, evolution, and ham is clearly one for the ages. His humor is deeply varied as it ranges from the very dry to the highly absurd – I literally couldn’t put it down, and was thus banned from the bedroom as my wife couldn’t get any sleep with me constantly giggling through the wee hours.
The story focuses on the Pirate Captain, who, like the rest of his crew, seems to lack any sort of a proper name. Together with his mates, the Albino Pirate, the Pirate with a Scarf, and a whole assortment of others, the Pirate Captain finds himself neck-deep in an adventure with world-famous scientist Darwin as he endeavors to defeat the Bishop of Oxford and impress chicks with his theories that a chimpanzee dressed in a suit can pass for a gentleman.
It’s all very odd, and very, very funny. From the subtle humor of referring to the “downstairs” of the boat to the outright bizarre humor of arguing the benefits of roasting vs. boiling ham (after all, roasting “allows the free escape of watery particles that’s necessary for a full flavor” as one pirate claims. “But if you continue the process too long, you risk the hams becoming tough and less succulent” retorts another,) this book commanded my complete attention from start to finish.
This book is a definite treat. If you’ve been overdosing on dry historical novels of late, you might find “The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists” a refreshing change of pace.